Cyprus Mail

Former uni rector officially launches bid for president


Criticising the “parties in power” and the “worn-out political system”, former rector of the University of Cyprus Constantinos Christofides on Sunday officially announced his candidacy for the presidential elections.

“Now the time has come after the unprecedented bankruptcy of 2013, the successive scandals of corruption, discrediting of institutions, obvious incompetence of the parties in power and after the long occupation of our country, to shout no more,” he said at a New Wave event.

“We don’t want our children disgusted to be forced to emigrate, we don’t want to be ashamed to show our passport. We deserve and can do better,” he added.

As he is not a professional politician, Christofides said he has not learned to flatter the crowd and will speak the language of truth.

A progressive candidate, he said, “should not be the contrived presence of political marketing, nor the presenter of a news bulletin that others wrote, nor of course the lacklustre voice of the party bureaucracy.”

Society, he added, is split into those who have access to power and those who do not. This is a wall that needs to come down, the former rector said.

The political parties also came in for criticism, with Christofides blaming them of controlling everything, altering the functioning of the state, cultivating corruption and distorting and corrupting independent institutions”.

Other problems the New Wave leader said the island faced include the excessive slowness in the administration of justice, the low ranking of our schools in international competitions and the inability of the state to manage change.

Christofides did not detail his policies but said they would be presented in the coming period and will be published in an e-book, but described it as “visionary and feasible”.

According to Christofides, Cyprus remains a prisoner of an anachronistic and unsustainable economic model and is in danger of becoming a laggard of developments.

“The solution of the Cyprus problem, the abolition of Turkish guarantees and the accession to Nato would be a positive prospect,” he said.

Asked if he had the experience needed to run the country, Christofides said “the experience of our politicians, which led to the division of our country, which brought about three economic disasters and turned the country into a global washing machine of corruption, I do not have. But I have the measurable work of the man who ran the most eminent intellectual institution of the country, the University of Cyprus… you remember, when the country was on its knees, the University was recording its great leaps.”

He also said that in these elections he is the only refugee candidate and “the first in the history of the Republic of Cyprus to come from the other side of Pentadaktylos”.

Christofides’ candidacy brings the number for the 2023 presdential election to eight with the main contenders being Nikos Christodoulides – running as an independent, Disy president Averof Neophytou and former senior diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis, also running as an independent but backed by opposition Akel.

Independent candidates are Achilleas Demetriades, Giorgos Colocassides, Marios Eliades and Christodoulos Protopapas.

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