Former President Nicos Anastasiades has revealed he will soon initiate restoring the “fraternal relations” in Disy following an internal rift within the right-wing party during this year’s presidential elections.
The move was revealed during an interview of the former president to Phileleftheros newspaper on Sunday, less than 200 days since Anastasiades’ two terms as president came to an end.
During the interview that was described as a ‘heartfelt testimony’, the 76-year-old politician referred to the presidential elections and his party’s split but also responded to criticisms by recounting his work in office.
The initiative, he said, will be implemented after the summer holidays in collaboration with the new leadership of Disy and “will allow the revival of the party and a sense of security not only for the supporters but also for society at large”.
It will aim to support the new party’s leadership and de-escalate the crisis by overcoming “feelings of bitterness and eliminating any divisive references”. He explained that there is a separation of supporters into those who say they belong to the founder’s Glafcos Clerides school of thought and ‘others’ as well as a tendency to question the new leadership.
Anastasiades noted that the party members who voted differently than the party’s decision to support presidential candidate Averof Neophytou should not be ignored but should continue to participate in party decisions.
The love for Disy and for Cyprus should prevail any bitterness put aside, said Anastasiades, a former leader of the party. “The stake is not personal vindication but the restoration of the injustice done to the historic Democratic Rally party,” he stressed.
Though it has historically conveyed a very united front, Disy members split between supporting their former member Nikos Christodoulides and their elected candidate Averof Neophytou during the presidential elections earlier this year.
And the rift was never properly addressed or resolved according to Anastasiades.
Despite the party’s division, the former president admitted he was pleased with the election of Christodoulides, who served as foreign minister in his government.
“Following the choices that emerged after the results of the first round of the elections, I was pleased because one of my close associates was elected instead of Akel,” Anastasiades said, adding that Christodoulides’ approach to actively involve the EU in the Cyprus issue is a move in the “right direction”.
Asked why he failed to address the party’s conflict, he explained that he had prepared a text on the issue that he later chose not to share as to avoid further tension.
Referring to the media, the politician was critical of some journalists who “knowingly adopt false news or even rumours” to smear a politician or, equally unacceptable, members of their family. But noted that he has always supported freedom of speech.
Anastasiades added that he still feels “the need to be creative” for the good of the country and Disy, which is why is has been running a political office in Nicosia.
He said he has started collecting data “to establish the actual facts concerning the management of the Cyprus problem during the ten-year-governance of the country”.
“I believe that the role of a politician is not exhausted by holding political office, but can offer just as much through creative interventions where and when events demand it,” he said.
Apart from that, Anastasiades said he now spends time with family and friends.
“After 43 years of being exclusively occupied with my political duties, I am now enjoying a more humane way of life.” He explained that he now devotes time to his children and grandchildren, exercises regularly, but also keeps in touch with “hundreds” of friends, ambassadors and state officials.