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Our View: Centre-right Disy needs to rediscover its  old core values

Κύπρος το Αύριο – Ενημερωτική εκδή
Marios Pelekanos

The former vice president of Disy, Marios Pelekanos, who resigned from his post a few weeks ago in a sulk because he had not been selected as a party candidate in June’s elections for the European Parliament, defected to Elam and will be one of its candidates. It was a glowing example of political opportunism, Pelekanos abandoning the leadership of the party, which had thwarted his personal ambition and joining one he hopes would help him realise it.

This is the gist of the defection, even though he tried to give his self-serving opportunism an ideological justification. “Joining Elam is based on my long-standing positions on issues of the highest importance for every Greek Cypriot, such as immigration, demographic concerns and the promotion of economic policies to the benefit of vulnerable groups of the population,” he said in announcement he issued on Friday to justify his move.

Why had he stood for election to a post in the leadership of Disy, when his long-standing positions on the most important issues were in line with those of far-right Elam? Claiming the post of Disy vice-president was a career move, which he abandoned as soon as he realised that it would not secure him a place in the party’s ballot paper and deprive him of the opportunity to represent a party the positions of which he does not share.

Superficially, the defection was a blow to the leadership of Annita Demetriou, but in reality, it was a blessing as she is now rid of a vice president, who, in her words, “used the party as a vehicle for satisfaction of personal ambitions.” More importantly, this should act as a wake-up call for Demetriou, whose party appears to be steadily veering towards the populist far-right.

Disy cannot and should not be competing with Elam for votes but rediscover its old right-wing values as the party of the free market, the party of business and enterprise, the party of European values and leave the flag-waving populism to Diko and Edek. It should be the party of economic rationality countering the Akel-inspired economic thinking of the majority of the parties, which does not serve the best interests of the economy and of growth.

Economic rationality might not appeal to the unionised masses, but there is a growing business community and a professional middle class that has been ignored by all the parties for too long. These are the groups Disy should be targeting as they have no political home. It does not need to denounce its moderate nationalism, which appeals to its traditional core support, but it should also establish itself as the party of the Right, which champions the market economy, shuns state intervention and union restrictions, encourages free enterprise, and stands up for businesses that no party does.

This is the only way ahead for Disy and it should not stop any party member who wants to, follow in Pelekanos’ path.

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