Akel-backed presidential candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis on Tuesday accused his rival Nikos Christodoulides of stealing one of his ideas – for the third time.

Mavroyiannis suggested old habits die hard where Christodoulides is concerned, claiming the latest idea of his that Christodoulides is trying to get credit for is the establishment of an advisory council for the appointment of committees and councils.

“Mr Christodoulides remains consistent in his bad habits of copying, which was the premise of what he used to announce his candidacy, for which he never apologised.”

Mavroyiannis was referring to the uproar that emerged in May last year after Christodoulides announced he was running for president as an independent, despite being a member of Disy and backed by centre parties. Several of his talking points during his speech bore an uncanny similarity or were identical to those used by candidate Ioannis Kasoulides back in the 2008 election cycle.

It emerged Christodoulides had acquired the services of communications advisor Giorgos Flessas, who was subsequently ‘let go’ after the debacle. Flessas had also advised Kasoulides during the 2008 presidential elections campaign, and later provided his services to Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis.

“Such actions do not suit the ethos that we want to bring to the political life of the country. Without wanting to obtain exclusive rights of any proposal, at the very least, Mr Christodoulides could have displayed some moral ground and simply agreed to Mavroyiannis’ proposal, as an indication of political culture,” Mavtroyiannis said.

The Akel-backed candidate argued the proposal on establishing an independent selection committee has been on his website since early October and was presented on January 23 as one of the immediate steps Mavroyiannis would take in his first 100 days in the president’s seat.

It is based on article 255 of the treaty on the EU’s operations and functioning, where the independent committee would have an advisory role for appointments to public office, including positions in independent institutions, chair persons, commissioners and members of semi-state organisations.

The committee would be expected to submit to the President of the Republic a list of proposed names, which would have been evaluated based on merit, suitability and independence. The committee would also have the possibility to invite ad hoc participants with expertise, depending on the institutions and bodies to which the procedure concerns, Mavroyiannis’ website explains.

On Tuesday at around 10am, media outlets received a press release from Christodoulides’ campaign team, outlining his suggestion to establish an advisory council for the appointments of committees and councils that fall within the competences of the President of the Republic.

The proposal was being fleshed out by former judge of the Supreme Court of Cyprus George Arestis, the statement by Christodoulides’ team said. Arestis had also served on the European Court of Justice from 2004 until 2014.

Christodoulides said the establishment of this body would be one of the first things he would undertake if the vote of the people placed him as president of the country.

Mavroyiannis’ reaction did not take long, with his team later accusing Christodoulides “of doing the same thing (stealing ideas) with our proposals for installing photovoltaics as well as our proposal for a unitary housing authority.”

However, in a further twist, independent candidate Constantinos Christofides in a Tweet he had come up with the same suggestion 18 months ago. He then called on voters to vote for a genuine programme, not its imitations.