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Anastasiades and Katie Clerides trade barbs on election day

Προεδρικές Εκλογές 2023 – Επαναληπτ
Katie Clerides stands right behind Disy leader Averof Neophytou when he went to vote on Sunday (PIO)

Voting day on Sunday was marred by some bad blood between President Nicos Anastasiades and Katie Clerides, daughter of Disy founder Glafcos Clerides, who had previously urged the party to back Andreas Mavroyiannis and not former party member Nikos Christodoulides.

When he went to vote on Sunday morning, Anastasiades was asked to comment on her statement that alluded to the alleged corruption that marred his presidential terms, to which he replied he was not interested in “engaging in conversation with those who try to harm the stability of the country.

“I don’t want to comment on vulgarities. How is it even possible to carry a name [Clerides] which you do not honour?” Anastasiades quipped.

Replying to the president later when she went to vote, Clerides said that Cyprus was a small place and everything is known eventually. “I don’t need to say anything else,” she added.

She also said that whatever the results of the election, Disy would remain united and strong. “The party will stand behind Averof Neophytou,” Clerides said. “He is the leader and we will exercise our role as a responsible opposition party”.

Following that, Anastasiades issued a written statement from the presidential palace saying that while he respected her political positions, the mud-slinging and allusions of corruption against him were “totally unacceptable and unsubstantiated”.

These were claims made by those who “for pre-election purposes, want to negate the work of ten years of this government,” he said. “It is also an unethical attempt to tarnish my name”.

“I want to assure Ms Clerides and those who adopt similar insults that as in the case of our historical leader Glafcos Clerides, the tons of mud they hurled at him, in the end hit not him but his detractors.”

He added that “Unfortunately the behaviour of Ms Clerides brings to my memory the quote of the late George Papandreou who, referring to the son of Eleftherios Venizelos, said: ‘Mr Sophocles Venizelos is nothing but the bearer of a great name’.”

Disy will hold elections for party president on March 11. So far, Neophytou is the only person to express interest in the position.

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