Disy leader Averof Neophytou met the two remaining candidates on Monday as the party continued to deliberate on its course in the presidential election following Neophytou’s exclusion from the final round.
The second round on Sunday will be between former Disy member Nikos Christodoulides and Akel-backed Andreas Mavroyiannis.
First to meet Disy’s top brass was Mavroyiannis who arrived to the party offices at 5pm. The meeting lasted 40 minutes with both Neophytou and Mavroyiannis agreeing not to make statements to the press.
Christodoulides was next in line, arriving at his former party offices at 6:15pm. Emerging from the talks 40 minutes later, he told reporters he had conveyed his positions and found it a constructive meeting.
Asked to comment on rumours that Disy may opt to simply tell its members to back whoever they preferred, Christodoulides said “I have not heard such a thing. I conveyed my position, my approach. That was the point of the meeting.”
He also confirmed he had spoken to President Nicos Anastasiades in the morning.
Before meeting Neophytou, Christodoulides called on Disy for “a joining of forces” for the sake of the country.
“I feel the need to address both the leadership and world of Disy, which I never stopped thinking about with respect. I have never denied where I come from politically.
“Circumstances may have led us down different paths but at this moment the dilemma before us requires, more than ever before, a joining of forces. For the good of our country, cooperation is required.
Disy has always been the part that took the decisions which would lead to financial and national stability, and therefore Christodoulides said he had no doubt that “a spirit of cooperation” would prevail.
Earlier in the day, Neophytou and party executives met Anastasiades to discuss the next steps. They had already had a meeting with Anastasiades at the palace on Sunday evening.
Disy’s political bureau will hold a meeting at 6pm on Tuesday, with Neophytou telling reporters a final decision would be made on the same day.
“Don’t ask me what the president said, or what this person on that said,” he said when asked whether meeting the president was helping the party make a decision. “These discussions have been ongoing for a decade”.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Neophytou stressed Disy’s unity would not be damaged by the results. He also congratulated Christodoulides and Mavroyiannis about half an hour before the final results came out.
“My personal opinion,” Neophytou said “which I think will also be the opinion of the executive office, is that we are not refusing to meet with anyone.
“We are democrats, we are dignified and we respect the results… if they have something to say, we’ll listen”.
Neophytou said it would be wise to avoid expressing any views until the decision is made.
“We will see what is decided tomorrow,” he said. “Why would we pay attention to any statements when we are talking about someone who went against his own party?”
Earlier, Disy’s deputy leader Haris Georgiades told CyBC radio that the situation that has been created is very difficult, and indicated that the party’s electoral failure must be managed in a way that will keep Disy united and strong.
He also stressed that the party is now facing serious dilemmas, with cadres for and against Christodoulides.
On Sunday Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos, a Disy member, was quick to announce that the party should be backing Mavroyiannis.
Though Christodoulides has secured many Disy votes, there are many who see him squarely responsible for dividing the party, after he decided to run as a candidate calling himself as an independent – but also a Disy member.
He was subsequently struck from the party after he officially submitted his candidacy.
“Disy members need to keep their heads high because they remained committed and defended principles which sooner or later they will be vindicated for. The decision for the next day is a collective one,” Neophytou said.
“One thing is certain: Disy will remain united and strong.”
Meanwhile, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said he would suggest that Disy back Christodoulides.
“We have a candidate who for nine years was one of Nicos Anastasiades’ closest collaborators, and it would not make sense to back the party that led us to bankruptcy,” he told Reporter.
He added that there is no doubt that the person who is closest to Anastasiades’ policies, and the party’s responsibilities is Christodoulides.
“Under the circumstances, and between the two candidates, if we intend to continue on a path of stability we should back Christdoulides,” he said. “I don’t see a dilemma for Disy”.
When a Christodoulides spokesman was asked if Disy’s participation in his government would also entail ministerial duties, she said that his proposal for the establishment of a government of broad social acceptance will not change.
Meanwhile, also speaking to CyBC earlier in the day member of Christodoulides’ election entourage Constantinos Letymbiotis said that Disy has a political affinity with the presidential candidate, “who has never denied his origins and political identity”.
Mavroyiannis, who was Anastasiades’ chief negotiator for Cyprus problem talks, meanwhile, told CyBC he believes the Cyprus issue could be the link between him and Disy.
In a bid for the party’s backing, he reminded that like his rival’s, his own candidacy is independent and has at its forefront the seriousness of fiscal discipline and financial stability.
Therefore, he added, economic stability, which is the banner of Disy, will not be called into question.