Dipa president Marios Garoyian was back at Diko headquarters for the first time in several years on Tuesday, but his call for a consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential elections to form a government of national unity made little headway.

Diko president Nicholas Papadopoulos praised Garoyian’s idea as constructive, but said it was unlikely to gain support because of the deep divide among the island’s political parties.

But the search for wider political consensus should continue, and this is what Diko was working for, he added.

Garoyian, who broke away from Diko which he once headed to form Dipa, has met all the political parties except Elam as he lobbies for a government of national unity. The Dipa leader said parties should put their differences aside because of the challenges of the times.

Tuesday’s meeting at Diko was the last in the first round of contacts with Garoyian announcing he would hold a second meeting with the two biggest parties – Disy and Akel –before Easter to see whether there is any change in their position.

Should there be no change, then Dipa will go to plan B of their proposal for a government of wider acceptance. Should this fail too, then Dipa will be obliged to look at what is best for Cyprus, as well as party interests, he said.

Disy president Averof Neophytou has already secured his party’s nomination while Akel has been holding talks, primarily with Diko. But their search for a mutually acceptable candidate who could in the best-case scenario also gain the support of other parties of the opposition, has so far failed to deliver.

Garoyian said he and Papadopoulos had agreed to remain in touch, since “what unites us is much more than what separates us.”

Papadopoulos said the meeting was interesting and constructive, and the proposal for a government of national unity may well represent the wish of a large share of society.

“But we must also be realists. We believe as Diko that such a proposal would not secure wider acceptance in the political world of Cyprus for reasons we know, because there are ideological differences but also differences of substance as regards the handling of important political issues such as the economy, a social state, the migration issue, combatting corruption and many other issues where there may be different approach which is to be respected,” he said.

But this did not mean there was no room for wider political cooperation which is what Diko sought.

“If there cannot be unanimity, let there be the greatest possible political consensus,” he added.