Cyprus Mail

Who’s who in the Disy leadership elections: Annita Demetriou

House president Annita Demetriou

With the party leadership elections for Disy on Saturday,  the Cyprus Mail has prepared a profile of the two candidates. Annita Demetriou and Demetris Demetriou. So either way, the winner will inevitably be a Demetriou.

Current House President, Annita Demetriou’s foray into politics was not as easy and smooth as her style may suggest.

Born in Troullous village in Larnaca, the 37-year-old politician started off way back in 2012 when she was 27. She began as a community councillor in Troullous, moved on to be Disy’s district secretary between 2013- 2015 and Dιsy Larnaca’s financial manager between 2014 – 2016.

The year 2016 was when she really became known across Cyprus and managed to turn a difficult situation to her advantage. Ahead of the parliamentary elections, during in-house Disy elections on which MPs would run for each district, Demetriou was elected to be on the Larnaca ticket.

Suddenly, Demetriou had apparently “volunteered” to withdraw her candidacy according to the party, paving the way for runner up volunteer commissioner Yiannakis Yiannaki to take her place.

The news at the time caused an uproar, both within the party ranks and across the public. Disy members themselves were furious that they had gone to vote only to be met with tactics and strategies that would ensure it was certain candidates that would make it, doing away with democratic procedures.

Yiannaki eventually decided to step back, paving the way for Demetriou to get on with her candidacy – eventually securing the MP position.combo

Her handling of the situation mirrored what would eventually become reflective of her political mannerism. She neither criticised Neophytou, Yiannaki or anyone else, stressing that what had happened was not what was the most important issue at hand, but the way forward was. Yiannaki later went on to become embroiled in a scandal related to fraudulent educational qualifications.

Another irony – or sense of karma – that has followed Demetriou’s career lies in her handling of comments made by former Disy spokesman Prodromos Prodromou. At the time of the furore, seeking to defend the party’s move over Demetriou, he said on national television that “the decision we had to make was based on the fact that we are running in elections, not a beauty pageant.”

Prodromou went on to become education minister though the statement has been thrown in his face a number of times over the years, as Demetriou went on to progress at parliament during her two-time election as MP and eventually became House President – the first woman and youngest person to take on the post, aged 35.

She has also been the Disy’s deputy leader since February 2020.

Just over two weeks ago, she declared she would be running for the party’s leadership position. As soon as she made her official announcement at Disy’s headquarters, the party leader who held the post for ten years Averof Neophytou, said he was bowing out of the race.

Demetriou studied social and political sciences at the University of Cyprus and holds an MA in International Relations and European Studies from the University of Kent, United Kingdom. She was spokesperson for Nicos Anastasiades during his candidacy in the presidential elections of 2018. Demetriou is married to Andreas Kyprianou.


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