Main opposition Akel will decide in June which candidate it will field or back for the 2023 presidential elections, the party’s leader said on Monday.
Speaking at an Easter-related function, Stefanos Stefanou said his party will take its final decision at an island-wide party congress scheduled for June.
The party’s central committee – the top decision-making body – is set to meet again soon. Next its proposals will filter out to the party base for feedback, and then the central committee will convene once more.
“Based on the procedure we have at the party… we will take our final decisions at the party congress planned for June… after which we’ll roll up our sleeves for the presidential elections,” Stefanou said.
Asked whether they’d be meeting with other opposition parties other than Diko, Stefanou said they have already had talks with parties during Easter.
“We’ve discussed certain things with the parties, we will see their reaction and response… naturally we will continue to be in contact with these parties, but at the same time we will be going through our own internal procedures.”
On whether a new powwow with Diko might be lined up, following the possible candidacy of former diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis – who could be wooed by both parties – Stefanou was non-committal: “We always keep our door open for meetings, but we also have our processes because at some point we’ll need to finish up and take our decisions.”
Some two months of exploratory talks between Akel and Diko for an election alliance failed to get anywhere, with possible cooperation ruled out by Diko after an internal meeting held earlier this month.
However, the resignation this month of Mavroyiannis as chief negotiator for Cyprus in settlement talks may have altered the dynamics.
Reportedly Mavroyiannis is one of three names currently being considered by Akel. The other two are economist Stelios Platis and lawyer Achilleas Demetriades. Only the latter has openly declared his intention to run.
Demetriades has been holding discussions with all the parties.
To date, only he, lawyer Marios Eliades and Disy leader Averof Neophytou have thrown their hat in the race.
The second largest opposition party, Diko has taken on the role of kingmaker in previous elections.
The intentions of former foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides – a Disy cadre since gone ‘rogue’ – are still unclear, although he is understood to be interested in running for president.