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‘In no other country would he still be in politics’

ΠΑΝΕΠΑΡΧΙΑΚΗ ΠΑΦΟΥ 2

Nobel prize laureate Christopher Pissarides has strongly criticised presidential candidate Nikos Christodoulides and called on him to step down following a series of recent leaks – with further damaging allegations emerging on Tuesday.

Pissarides’ comments were made after a series of reports and allegations surfaced against Christodoulides, with Pissarides saying not even Trump faced such scandals. He said in no other country would Christodoulides still be involved in politics.

The allegations are centred on leaked messages which allegedly show how Christodoulides instructed former campaign aide Manolis Kyriacou to set up a series of fake social media accounts across various platforms to drum up sham support and criticise detractors.

Politis on Tuesday published another report after Kyriacou supplied more private messages which show that a ‘Task Force’ was setup by senior Christodoulides supporters and family members. One stated aim was to destabilise Akel and Disy.

Last week Christodoulides said at a campaign event that he knew the road to the elections would not be any easy one, but that the slander he receives daily is “without limits” and “out of bounds.”

That appears to have enraged Kyriacou, who on Tuesday called on Christodoulides to “end the charade” and said that he has many more details available to be published should the candidate seek to falsify the claims.

Kyriacou maintains that Christodoulides is himself guilty of the tactics which he publicly decries and accuses his opponents of employing against him.

Pissarides, who has stated his support for presidential candidate Constantinos Christofides, told PlusTV that “if this happened in Britain, the US or in a democratic European country he [Christodoulides] would have abandoned politics – even Trump did not do that”.

He further questioned how Christodoulides can now present himself to the electorate with any dignity and ask them to vote for him, with Pissarides further pondering how the candidate has so much support.

A Politis report over the weekend also appears to show messages sent by Christodoulides belittling close allies – while also strongly hinting at his intention to run for president during his time as foreign minister, despite repeatedly rejecting such a move.

Opinion polls consistently show Christodoulides to be well ahead of the other two top contenders – Disy’s Averof Neophytou and independent but Akel backed candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis.

But Pissarides insisted that the latest leaks by Kyriacou to the media compound the doubts which were raised against Christodoulides in mid May.

That was when the first real test for Christodoulides emerged as one of his spin doctors was cut loose after embarrassing footage went viral – which showed that large parts of his speech were identical to those used by candidate Ioannis Kasoulides back in the 2008 election cycle.

Elsewhere, Pissarides expressed deep dissatisfaction with the handling of the Cyprus problem negotiations – placing the blame on President Nicos Anastasiades and Christodoulides, who was then government spokesman, for the collapse of the Crans Montana talks in 2017.

He further argued that Neophytou cannot be viewed as the solution since his party has been in power for the past ten years, while Mavroyiannis is unlikely to deliver since he will be under Akel’s control.

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