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Akel member refuses CyBC post in SGO spat

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Akel member Costas Costas on Monday has announced his refusal to accept reappointment to the board of directors of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC).

His decision, as announced by Akel in a statement, “serves as a direct response to the political decision of the Christodoulides government to almost entirely exclude individuals with left-wing affiliations from the councils of semi-governmental organisations (SGOs)”.

“Notably, this includes individuals who, according to government ministers themselves, served conscientiously and effectively in these organisations over the years,” the statement continued.

Parties slammed Christodoulides for handing out political favours with appointments made to SGOs.

Criticism came from various political factions, which slammed the sloppy handling by Christodoulides’ government of SGO appointments.

Responding to accusations, Christodoulides said “every innovation and significant reform sparks reactions”.

The president defended the appointments after the contentious appointment of Elam member Konstantinos Kostalia, who openly praised the Greek junta to the board of directors of the Cyprus state university of technology (Tepak).

Kostalia was swiftly replaced following public uproar by Dr Konstantinos Vorkas.

“Christodoulides failed to live up to his promises to appoint capable and deserving individuals [to SGOs], regardless of their party or political identity,” said Akel.

Akel’s statement also accused the president of appointing his own associates, as well as members of the ruling coalition parties and Disy, choosing individuals for councils in “crucial organisations that should be scrutinised for conflicts of interest due to their business and professional activities”.

Additionally, the party also slammed Christodoulides for associating with far-right Elam, “appointing a member of a party that openly praises the junta and deliberately excludes almost entirely individuals with left-wing backgrounds”.

“Christodoulides should be aware that excluding the left while simultaneously embracing the far-right is not an innovation but rather reminiscent of darker periods in the history of the country,” Akel’s statement concluded.

Later on Monday, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades and Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Marilena Evangelou, however, defended Christodoulides’ choices of appointments to the SGOs.

“We believe that everyone has a voice and an opinion, and personally, I am proud of the process followed by the Council of Ministers for the selection of members of SGOs,” Vafeades said, adding that previous administrations appointed individuals “purely on partisan evaluations”.

“Today, this is no longer the case, and all people can participate in the government’s decision-making process and the implementation of the president’s programme.”

Echoing Vafeades, Evangelou said that the government has taken an innovative step to break free from past practices.

“The new approach fosters participatory democracy, providing more opportunities for people with abilities to contribute to public affairs,” she said.

 

Finance Minister Makis Keravnos also commented on the reactions to the appointments to the SGOs, stressing the need to focus on improvements rather than lingering on reactions.

Speaking after a meeting with the president of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (Keve) Stavros Stavrou, Keravnos told the media that “reactions and complaints have always been present” in similar instances throughout his years in public service.

“In all the years I have been involved in public affairs, I cannot recall any government appointment to SGOs without reactions and disagreements,” he said, highlighting that the last string of appointments was made based on a new institution, the advisory board.

“Therefore, I think we need to look at the improvements and not dwell on the reactions that have always existed.”

 

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