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Tales from the coffeeshop: Disy election a contest of good looks and not saying anything

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Disy leadership candidates: Demetris Demetriou and Annita Demetriou

DISAPPOINTED that the Disy leadership election will not be contested by the good, the bad and the ugly, as had been widely expected, the bad and the ugly having decided not to stand on the deadline day for the submission of candidacies.

An hour before the deadline for candidacies, House president Annita Demetriou arrived at the party HQ to turn the leadership election into a Demetriou v Demetriou contest. I would have liked to call it a ‘beauty and the beast’ showdown, but Demetris Demetriou (DD) is not a beast in any sense of the word.

A mild-mannered and gently-spoken nice guy, he could have done with some beast qualities to persuade Disy members that he had the gumption to pull together a deeply divided party and lead it anywhere other than into the warm embrace of the waiting, new president.

The female Demetriou, despite the angelic, pretty face, seems to be made of sterner stuff, having run the legislature, according to our moles, with an iron fist, getting things done and taking no nonsense. In this regard she has a clear advantage over her rival, who has no experience of running anything.

Both are relatively young – Mr Demetriou, 42 and Ms Demetriou 37 – both have the good looks, which are so important nowadays, and both have mastered the winning ‘Christodoulides election formula’ of talking without really saying anything.

 

LISTENING to their promises about uniting the party, modernising it, making it more outward-looking, listening to the base, having transparency and other such apolitical generalities designed not to offend anyone you realise that this will be the political discourse we will have to suffer from now on.

This blandness won a presidential election so it will become the common currency of political debate from now on. It makes you nostalgic for the nastiness of the past, for the below the belt blows, the exchange of insults and the occasional throwing of dirt. There was passion in the past, that at least made you think the candidates cared, even though they did not.

The male Demetriou did have a little dig at the female Demetriou, by claiming he was the only independent candidate, implying she was dependent on someone or other, without saying who. But what does it mean to be an independent candidate in a party election? Is he not dependent on the party he wants to lead and on its members?

Or is he perhaps a Christodoulides style independent, supported by Diko and Edek?

 

SPARE a thought for poor old Averof for whom, contrary to what TS Elliot wrote, February, not April, “is the cruellest month.”

He started out February as a party leader and presidential candidate with a slim hope of winning the elections, was eliminated from the run-off and before the month was out he also surrendered the leadership of his party rather than suffer the humiliation of another electoral defeat, this time to a Christodoulides clone.

He has now gone abroad for a break, so he will not have to attend the coronation ceremony of Nikos II at the House on Tuesday. Perfectly understandable, but his decision makes the embarrassing public pledge of allegiance to Nikos II, and the embracing in front of the cameras 10 days earlier even weirder than it looked.

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The look of love? Averof and Nikos II last week

THE MACHIAVELLIAN scheming of Prez Niccolo must take the credit for the wreckage of Averof’s political career.

That the Disy leader is still standing and able to travel after the number of times he was stabbed in the back by Niccolo and some of his party associates is a wonder of political science. What is beyond belief was the way the supposedly cunning operator Averof, no matter how many times he had been lied to and set up by the prez, carried on believing he was on his side.

All it took was just one more brazen lie from Niccolo for Averof to believe to become blind to what he had so eloquently described, during the presidential election campaign, as the elephant in the room.

The outgoing Disy chief lost the last shreds of respect he commanded when he publicly defended Nik against the accusations made by Katie Clerides on the eve of the run-off elections, accusations he knew to be true. He said he disagreed with what she said, betraying one of the few persons that had always been truly loyal to him.

I suspect Niccolo had promised he would help him win the Disy leadership election if Averof publicly humiliated Katie, and he bought it. No matter how many times Niccolo cries wolf, Averof will always come running to him.

 

THE BRAZENNESS of Niccolo’s lying has been stepped up as the day of his departure from office approaches.

Having undermined Averof at every turn, split the party and ensured his election defeat, on Tuesday, after the news that the Disy chief would be standing down, he expressed his “appreciation to Neophytou, who for the good of the party, showed his leadership qualities, allowing the renewal of the party, with two new cadres.”

Needless to say that Niccolo was leader of Disy for 17 years without ever seeing the need for renewal, but his hypocrisy did not end there. After helping split the party he was now in contact with party members to discuss how Disy could be reunited.

And the lie. “I do not become involved in internal party elections.” Apart from ensuring that Averof will not get re-elected.

 

CONFUSION surrounded the reasons for the cancellation of the meeting Nikos II was scheduled to have with Greece’s opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, who was on the island last week, to speak at an event honouring the late Vassos Lyssarides in Lefkara on Thursday.

The president-elect was scheduled to meet Tsipras in Nicosia on Thursday afternoon but cancelled the meeting. This because he had been notified by Athens that Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis would meet him in mid-March. It would have been wrong for him to meet Greece’s opposition leader before he met the PM so the Nicosia meeting was cancelled.

According to Kathimerini, the meeting, scheduled for 5pm was cancelled by the president-elect on the grounds that he had to attend a funeral. It seemed a rather poor excuse considering our churches have no funeral services after 3pm.

Εκλελεγμένος Πρόεδρος Ν. Χριστοδουλίδης Συνάντηση με τον Πρόεδρο του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, Λεύκαρα
The meeting not meeting between Tsipras the president-elect on Thursday in Lefkara

HELLAS JOURNAL website meanwhile had another explanation, in an article by one of Nikos II’s foremost cheerleaders, Michalis Ignatiou.

He wrote that, according to reliable sources, the president-elect was unhappy about a statement Tsipras had made at a meeting with the Akel chief regarding the Cyprob. Tsipras had stated that Cyprus talks should resume from where they had stopped in Crans Montana.

“As was natural, the staff of Mr Christodoulides had no wish to be led to a meeting at which it would have appeared that he adopted, in one way or another, the almost ‘binding’ framework of what Mr Tsipras had said. Hence the official meeting, on Mr Christodoulides’ initiative was cancelled, literally at the last minute.”

But if Mr Christodoulides was attending a funeral at 5pm, would he not have known about it well in advance of the scheduled meeting with Tsipras? Why did he cancel it, literally at the last minute? For the record, Nikos II went to Lefkara where he met up with Tsipras, suggesting he was not that pissed off with him and was back in time to attend the 5pm funeral.

 

WHENEVER our establishment writes anything critical about the holier than thou Odysseas, some readers react like the devout whose God has been offended, so I apologise to them beforehand if they think I am being disrespectful to the great man.

It was pleasure to see the supreme court clipping his wings with its rejection of the absurd petition he had filed about the titles of public officials. It also showed him that he is not the legal expert he seems to think he is, often decreeing what is legal behaviour, without having the authority or expertise to do so.

Odysseas objected to a finance ministry circular referring to three deputy public officials as deputy auditor-general, deputy attorney-general and deputy accountant-general. He insisted it should be “deputy to the auditor-general,” presumably because he felt having a deputy auditor-general diminished his absolute powers.

For his absurd petition to the supreme court, Odysseas was represented by three private law firms and the bill was picked up by the taxpayer. Had there been a tenders’ procedure before he secured the services of three law offices? And why had he filed a petition when the attorney-general, the state’s legal advisor, had issued an opinion stating that it was correct to use the title ‘deputy auditor-general’?

Can a state official waste the taxpayer’s money on a personal whim? Yes, because the Odysseas-general can do whatever he pleases. It says so in the constitution.

 

OUR POLITICAL parties, which issue a statement at the drop of a hat, spouting their views about the biggest trivialities imaginable, all went silent on Friday’s anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Only the Greens, to their credit, issued a statement condemning the invasion. From the others, not a word, not even from Disy, the only party which does not worship Mother Russia.

When you consider that even that remnant of the Cold War, the Soviet-created Pancyprian Peace Council, issued a lukewarm condemnation, there was no excuse for the parties. Our parties would not condemn a nuclear attack by Russia because of its principled stand on the Cyprob, but they always attack other countries of double standards. That is consistency.


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