Akel’s Stephanos Stephanou was elected on Sunday as the new secretary-general of the party, replacing Andros Kyprianou who has held the post since 2009.
He was elected by the party’s central committee comprised of 105 members who were voting between Stephanou and Giorgos Loukaides, both of which were running for the leadership post.
With one absentee and one blank vote, Loukaides received 29 votes or 28.16 per cent support while Stephanou obtained 74 votes or 71.84 per cent.
Kyprianou chose not to run for the position after the party’s poor showing during the latest parliamentary elections which saw Akel lose 3.3 per cent of its support at 22.34 per cent, as well as one seat, after being in opposition for eight years, in a scandal-ridden government.
Stephanou has held the post of party spokesman and was expected to be the one to take over the party reins.
In his speech after the results, Stephanou said “it is a great honour but an even greater responsibility.”
Reflecting on the recent elections, he said there was a clear message sent out and there was an importance to transform themselves.
“Not to undo our ideological and political identity but to listen to the demands and challenges of the new age, investing in what we are for almost a century now.”
The goal, he added, is to “become once again, the protagonists in the fields that shape progress.”
Though the task ahead is challenging, Akel is made for challenging situations knowing that this is how new and good things come about.
He thanked his predecessor Kyprianou for all the hard work he had done and all he had given to the party
Nonetheless, Stephanou raised the alarm over the Cyprus problem saying “this is the first time we are so close to permanent partition.” This crossroads makes Akel’s presence extremely important, as this is not the time to seek “new adventures”.
There is no doubt that the only path to a solution is a bizonal, bicommunal federation, he added.