Former Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides has decided against contesting the Disy party leadership race next month, he said.

He had said on Thursday he was considering throwing his hat into the ring along with the party’s vice president Harris Georgiades and spokesman Demetris Demetriou.

The leadership race comes after the defeat of party head Averof Neophytou in the presidential elections this month.

On Saturday, Pamborides referred to the race as an “unfortunate process”, CNA reported.

He said the calls within the party for a pre-election period where the candidates would have sufficient time to put forward their arguments and positions was not heeded and he could not accept to participate “as an extra in a show that is cut and sewn for the professional politicians who now fully control the party.”

He also referred to “methods” that “virtually prohibit anyone outside the party leadership from standing on equal terms as a candidate.”

Addressing those who encouraged him in recent days and shared their anxiety about what was going on, he thanked them but “as long as things continue to remain the same in Disy, I will stay out of it”.
In the 40 years since he had joined Disy, he said he had never claimed any position in the heirarchy and had not wished to become a “career politician”.

“However, I felt at this critical time that I had an obligation to stand as a candidate to help turn the page and make a new beginning. A clean start, with an eye on the future,” he said.

He said the recent electoral defeat had shown that the problems that have plagued the party for so many years “now threaten Disy with a split”.

In this climate, he added, there was a rush to leadership elections.

“I tried very hard to find a way to address the grassroots, even under these adverse conditions, so that at least the right issues are raised on the floor, with the hope that they will finally be discussed openly and publicly,” he said.

“However under these conditions, there is not enough time, not even the basic means for someone to be able to address even the voters and fight against people who have been professionally handling the party mechanisms for a number of years,” Pamborides added.

Disy’s leadership elections will be held on March 11.