Akel MP Irene Charalambidou said on Sunday if she was asked by the party to stand as its candidate for the presidential elections in 2023 she would say yes.

In an interview with daily Phileleftheros, she said the party should follow a system similar to that in counties abroad to pick a candidate by having ‘primaries’ so that grass roots members of the party are also able to have a say in a final candidate.

While Akel has yet to back a candidate it did start out trying to name a fellow one with Diko.

Charalambidou said she backed cooperation “for the presidential elections to signal a change in the culture of governance, with transparency, with zero tolerance for corruption, management of the economy with the primary interest of the citizen”

The cooperation of the two major opposition parties would have attracted the smaller parties as well and should have been set in a framework, planned long ago, she said, to have been broader and on issues beyond parliament.

Akel is set to make a final decision over who to back at its party congress in June.

The party is believed to be considering chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, economist Stelios Platis and lawyer Achilleas Demetriades. Only the latter has openly declared his intention to run.

Charalambidou’s name has been floated as a candidate and polls have shown her popularity.

Already in the running for the 2023 elections is Disy’s Averof Neophytou, former government minister Marios Eliades, former University of Cyprus rector Constantinos Christofides and Demetriades.

Elsewhere, former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides is widely expected to announce his candidacy.

The election is due to be held in February 2023.