Cyprus Mail

Disy meets to decide leadership procedures (update)

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Averof Neophytou

Disy’s Political Bureau convened on Monday evening to decide the timeframe and procedures ahead of the March 11 internal vote for the election of a new party leader – and possibly for a change in the entire leadership structure.

The meeting got underway at 6pm and lasted until around 8:30pm.

After the meeting, it party spokesman Demetris Demetriou announced elections for the leader will be helld on March 11, and that cnadidates had until February 21 to submit their nominations.

He added that anyone seeking nomination for the head of the party must also have 100 signatures from supporters for the candidacy.

Reeling from its defeat in the presidential elections after its candidate Averof Neophytou was eliminated in the first round, the conservative party is in the throes of an internal crisis.

Just after the result came out for the first round of presidential elections, Neophytou announced that Disy would hold a vote on March 11 to decide its new leader. He also announced that he would be re-contesting the position.

But since then, comments by various party cadres indicate that the reshuffle may go beyond the position of party chairman. Also in play could be the entire party leadership – the alternate chairman, the three deputy chairpersons, and possibly the 25-member Political Bureau itself.

For the time being, the date of March 11 to elect a new party leader appeared to be the only constant. However, a member of the party’s Executive Bureau suggested that a nation-wide electoral congress may be necessary should the entire leadership be up for grabs.

Asked about the proceedings, Demetriou left open the possibility of a change of date. He said that if the rest of the leadership resigns, then elections would be held to elect the new alternate chairman and three deputy chairpersons.

And should the Political Bureau also resign, elections would be necessary for that body as well.

On whether additional time beyond March 11 might be needed should that scenario pan out, Demetriou said that was possible.

Contacted by the Cyprus Mail on Monday afternoon, Demetriou confirmed that everything – the timeframe, procedures – was up in the air.

He added that the Political Bureau was convening precisely to firm up all these issues. The session could last until midnight or even later, he noted.

Reports suggested that a number of senior Disy cadres are unhappy with Neophytou for ‘locking down’ the March 11 date, as it leaves any contenders little time for campaigning and outreach. By contrast, as party leader Neophytou holds all the cards.

So far, no one other than Neophytou has put their name forward for party leader. But queried by journalists, some senior party cadres – Demetriou, alternate party chairman Harris Georgiades, and deputy chairperson Annita Demetriou – did not rule it out either.

Demetriou has said that he is “considering it very seriously”.

Demetriou himself is slated as one of the possible contenders for the top job. He is one of Neophytou’s close aides, having been appointed by him to serve as party spokesman. In addition, Demetriou garnered the most votes on the Disy ticket in Nicosia in the last parliamentary elections in 2021, leaving behind big names such as Georgiades. Running for MP, he also got the second highest number of votes for any candidate nation-wide, only trailing Akel’s Irini Charalambidou.

As for Georgiades, elected alternate chairman or the party’s number 2 back in January 2020, he has spoken of the need for “self-critique” within the party for the errors committed not just during the presidential election campaign but generally as well.

Other names mentioned in the media include Nicos Nouris, currently the interior minister.

Under the Disy charter, in the event of defeat in presidential elections the party chairman must immediately call for an extraordinary electoral congress to vote for party leader.


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