|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-10
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Tuesday, February 10, 1998
 Losers call the shotsBy Martin Hellicar
AS the dust settled from Sunday's deadlocked first round of presidential elections, the two surviving contenders began angling for the second round support of defeated candidates.
Neither pretender George Iacovou, who won 40.6 per cent of the vote, nor incumbent President Glafcos Clerides, with 40.1 per cent, managed to secure an outright majority in Sunday's polling, forcing a decisive face-off between the two this Sunday.
Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides, whose impressive 10.6 per cent makes him kingmaker for February 15, last night made public a list of conditions for his party's support, that was submitted to both candidates.
In the seven-page document, Edek called for the establishment a national unity government, an upgraded and more powerful National Council and the setting up of a strategic planning bureau to discuss and shape foreign policy.
On the domestic front it has demanded a commitment on eliminating nepotism and on undertaking reforms that would improve quality of life. These include specific proposals about reforming the ailing education system and introduction of a national health scheme.
But Iacovou and Clerides made it clear they would be talking to all parties in the search for a winning second round pact.
Both the President, backed by right-wing Disy, and Iacovou, backed by communist Akel and centre-right Diko, are dangling the carrot of government participation in their quest for support.
"The door is open for co-operation with everyone, I'm aiming to form a government of the widest possible spectrum," Iacovou said yesterday, countering Clerides' promise, made on Sunday, to form a national unity government.
Government spokesman Manolis Christofides, speaking for Clerides yesterday, said even "personalities" from Akel and Diko could have a place in a new Clerides government.
Iacovou got the ball rolling for what is expected to be a frenetic week of wheeler-dealing by meeting with United Democrat leader George Vassiliou yesterday morning.
Former President Vassiliou, who failed in his re-election bid in 1993 by only 2,174 votes, got a disappointing 3 per of the vote in round one. Both men described their hour-long meeting as "friendly". Iacovou said they would be meeting again soon.
Vassiliou, who also met Clerides later in the day, declined to comment on possible alliances till after his United Democrats party had met to consider strategy.
Clerides also met Diko rebel Alexis Galanos, who secured a sizeable four per cent angling for the vote of party followers unhappy with the decision to back Iacovou. Galanos is unlikely to patch up his differences with the Diko mainstream and back Iacovou, but his spokesman, Haris Kyriakides, was ruling out nothing yesterday.
Galanos also met former President George Vassiliou and Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The President is expected to meet with Liberal Nicos Rolandis, who garnered 0.8 per cent and Nicos Koutsou of the New Horizons, who secured 0.9 per cent, today.
Nationalist Koutsou was the only player not keeping his cards close to his chest yesterday. He said he would be proposing the party vote for Clerides in round two. A party general assembly is to consider the proposal today.
Edek spokesman Yiannakis Omirou had earlier said that the wish list would be presented to the two candidates, to parties and "to the people."
Lyssarides has repeatedly stated concurrence on foreign policy would be the deciding factor in any alliance. Omirou reiterated this yesterday, stating the "people demanded a common course for the salvation of our island."
"The message from the elections was clear, the people do not want a monopoly of power," he said.
The Edek party decision-making bodies are expected to meet later this week to decide whom to back in the second round of elections.
 Taxi driver `confesses to murder of French woman'By Martin Hellicar
A TAXI driver was remanded yesterday on suspicion of abducting and murdering a French tourist immediately after her arrival at Larnaca airport on Christmas Day.
Limassol District court heard that 36-year-old Kyriacos Andrea Zana, from Kiti village outside Larnaca, had admitted to shooting 49-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomik and dumping her body in a well.
The motive for the killing appears to have been theft, as Zana had stolen £190 in cash from Chomik, police said.
The victim's body was discovered down a 100-foot well near Xylophagou, Famagusta, on Sunday evening. Police were led to the well by Zana, who had been arrested at 2pm the same day after a DNA blueprint of blood found on his taxi cab was found to closely match that of Chomik's mother and brother.
Zana had confessed to shooting Chomik four times with a shot-gun near the village of Moni, en route to her hotel in Limassol, investigating officer Andreas Naoum told the court. The court heard the victim's body had shot- gun wounds to the head, stomach and other parts.
Chomik was driven off the Larnaca to Limassol highway onto a dirt track near the chapel of Ayios Epiphanios before Zana forced her to get out of the car and shot her, Naoum said. Zana took 1,700 French francs and £40 from his victim, the court heard.
Zana then put Chomik's dead body in the boot of his cab before driving to Xylophagou, about 60 kilometres away, dumping the murder weapon and the victim's clothes on the way, Naoum said.
The court heard that on Sunday Zana had led police to the scene of the alleged shooting, where two spent cartridges and a pair of glasses and a watch believed to belong to the victim were found. Zana also led police to the roof of a Larnaca flat where they found a pair of trousers Zana said were the victim's, police said.
On the way to court yesterday, the suspect showed police the areas where he had dumped the shot-gun and some of the victim's belongings near the Larnaca district villages of Mosfiloti and Kalo Chorio respectively, police said. Police said a subsequent search using sniffer-dogs turned up part of a gun and a jumper.
The court remanded Zana for eight days. His lawyer asked that he be examined by doctors, saying Zana had both psychological and health problems.
An autopsy was carried out on the body yesterday but results were not released.
Chomik, who worked as a public relations officer in St.Vallier near Lyon, had been reported missing on January 8. Police said at the time she had not been seen or heard from since failing to catch her return flight to France on January 1.
Zana's taxi cab was impounded by police on January 28 following a tip-off that Chomik had been abducted and murdered. At the time, Zana denied ever having given a lift to Chomik but did state he had used the cab between Christmas and January 1, Naoum said yesterday. Forensic experts later found blood stains on the cab and, on February 4, police officers went to France to collect blood samples from Chomik's mother and brother for use in DNA analysis.
The final, conclusive, results of DNA analyses are expected tomorrow.
In 1994, Zana's statement as a prosecution witness had been crucial in securing the convictions of Antonis Kitas, known as Al Capone, and Michalis Iacovides for the murder of Ukrainian cabaret artiste Oxana Lisna. Lisna's body had been found dumped down a well near Livadia village, Larnaca.
Al Capone and Iacovides are serving life sentences for the killing.
 A slick campaign rewardedBy Charlie Charalambous
AS THE dust settles on Sunday's first round election results, Edek's Vassos Lyssarides has more cause than most to celebrate.
The percentage share garnered by the wily veteran may have taken many analysts by surprise but his performance was, in part, a testimony to a slick media campaign.
Lyssarides, often seen as a dyed-in-the-wool hardliner who was more than likely to chase lost and unpopular causes - such as that of Colonel Gaddafi's Libya - had managed to reinvent himself for mass consumption.
Despite the tag of the eternal nearly-man, this time round Lyssarides brushed up his image and used a youth-driven media blitz to present himself as a progressive democratic socialist with European-style ideas.
The rhetoric was toned down and his focus on "the issues that mattered" sharpened.
It seems Lyssarides not only attracted the first time voter but also a large chunk of the disaffected vote, tired of the divisive politics espoused by Diko, Akel and Disy.
In contrast, United Democrat George Vassiliou performed well below expectations, a result which cannot just be explained by saying he lost the votes to the left.
Vassiliou came from nowhere in 1988 and came close in 1993 by launching a cleverly orchestrated campaign that took him face-to-face with the electorate.
But this time round Vassiliou was less inclined to press the flesh and believed that concentrating on his reputation as an "achiever" would be enough.
In essence, Vassiliou fought a lacklustre campaign and failed really to convince the voter that he was still an effective force on the scene.
Although Vassiliou was looking to both left and right for votes, he failed to connect with the disaffected Akel voter, unhappy about jumping into bed with Diko and Spyros Kyprianou.
However, Vassiliou's disappointing three per cent could still prove crucial to either Clerides or Iacovou in a second round likely to be decided by a few thousand votes.
Once Diko was split over the party's choice to back Iacovou, rebel Alexis Galanos was always going to get a sizeable share of the protest vote.
But it remains to be seen whether Galanos can deliver his first round support to get behind one of the two front runners.
With the Edek voter also a rather unpredictable breed, come this Sunday they may not all stand behind the candidate that gets their party's blessing.
Iacovou obviously suffered from his backers' inability to deliver their share of the vote, failing to collect the combined Diko and Akel vote - in large part due to the uneasy nature of the alliance.
Iacovou's less than spectacular showing together with the success of Galanos puts into question the viability of Diko as a future power-broker in local politics.
With many Diko supporters backing Clerides and Galanos in the first round, party leader Spyros Kyprianou may need to eat a large portion of humble pie to steady the ranks.
Clerides must now be quietly confident after keeping Iacovou in his sights; he has built a 40 per cent platform, not only on his mainstay Disy vote, but on those of disgruntled Diko supporters and thousands of first-time voters.
This gives the incumbent plenty of room to manoeuvre and convince the smaller parties that his is the winning ticket.
Meanwhile, Iacovou's strategists will have to discard their pre-election triumphalism and get back to basics.
 Full election results
First round presidential elections, final resultsCandidate Votes Percentage
George Iacovou 40.61
Glafcos Clerides 40.06
Vassos Lyssarides 10.59
Alexis Galanos 4.04
George Vassiliou 3.00
Nicos Koutsou 0.91
Nicos Rolandis 0.78
Out of a total of 446,976 registered voters from 1,018 polling stations islandwideVotes Cast 91.72
Valid Votes 96.66
Invalid Votes 2.18
Blank Ballots 1.16
First Round Results; precentage by districtCandidate Nicosia Limassol Larnaca Famagusta Paphos
George Iacovou 37.90 42.75 45.15 36.31 40.16
Glafcos Clerides 40.87 38.47 41.28 51.90 31.83
Vassos Lyssarides 11.96 9.35 6.90 4.53 19.13
Alexis Galanos 3.86 4.89 3.18 3.41 4.08
George Vassiliou 3.49 2.86 2.20 2.73 2.90
Nicos Koutsou 0.99 0.81 0.88 0.79 1.06
Nicos Rolandis 0.91 0.87 0.42 0.34 0.85
 Taking stock of Sunday's messageBy Bouli Hadjioannou
GEORGE Iacovou squeaked past Glafcos Clerides with 2,155 votes or 0.55 per cent, falling short of his team's optimistic prognosis of a 5 per cent lead and confirming Diko division over his candidacy.
With the final results showing him nearly 9 per cent below the combined votes of Akel and Diko of 1996, Iacovou spoke of a "good basis for change". But he also acknowledged hard work lay ahead and appealed to Edek, the United Democrats and those "Diko voters who did not back my candidacy" to put their strength behind him on Sunday.
Overtures to Edek were obvious. There were compliments on Vassos Lyssarides' good showing, which he put down to Edek's correct opposition to the Clerides government. Iacovou and officials from Diko and Akel built on this point, arguing 60 per cent of the voters had expressed displeasure with Clerides. Akel said Iacovou's results had been anticipated, but conceded they had expected Clerides to trail by a greater margin.
Now Iacovou's campaign team begins talks for the run-off without the momentum of a clear first round lead. Fence-mending will be called for. Edek, negotiating from strength after an impressive showing by Vassos Lyssarides, may still be still smarting from last summer's acrimonious collapse of the Coalition of Hope.
The United Democrats' George Vassiliou, though polling a disappointing 3 per cent could play a crucial role. The initial reaction was one of thinly- veiled criticism of the Iacovou team. There were complaints that Akel had lured away voters from Vassiliou to Iacovou and talk of false rumours that Vassiliou would back Clerides. Akel general-secretary Demetris Christofias rang Vassiliou to offer his sympathy and deny the claims. Akel's own version was that Vassiliou had lost votes to Clerides.
Iacovou will need also to attract the sizeable 4 per cent who voted for Alexis Galanos. Kyprianou put out the first feelers as results showed his party deeply divided, saying he was certain 90 per cent of Diko would end up voting for Iacovou. He also said he was sure many who had voted for Galanos were expressing their appreciation for the Diko rebel, rather than wishing to harm their party.
Glafcos Clerides' re-election chances were boosted by Sunday's results which had him trailing Iacovou, but only just. The incumbent president polled 40.06 per cent - a sizeable 6 per cent above Disy's showing in the 1996 parliamentary elections, aiding his main campaign message that his candidacy was above-party. Clerides was quick to build on this. With most of the votes counted, he made a brief appearance outside the presidential palace to announce he would begin contacts the following morning to form a government of national unity because this is what the future of Cyprus dictated. He would not elaborate.
His campaign team were clearly happy with the results, and quick to extend a hand to the smaller parties. Disy president Nicos Anastassiades urged supporters to show moderation and noted that the incumbent president enjoyed support beyond Disy. He said the results of Lyssarides, Galanos and Vassiliou - who now find themselves wooed by both camps - showed their responsible stand. Clerides would be a president for all Cypriots, and talks for alliances with smaller parties would be held without arrogance, he added. Spokesmen from the Clerides campaign team also homed in on Iacovou's failure to secure the combined votes of Akel and Diko.
Clerides will now concentrate on wooing supporters of all the five candidates who did not make it to the second round, and particularly Edek. Though the socialist party has been fiercely critical in the past about Clerides' domestic policies and claims that Disy has ties with Eoka B sympathisers, relations have been warmed by Clerides' close co-operation with the Pasok government in Athens, which led to the joint defence dogma with Greece.
Vassos Lyssarides emerged a clear kingmaker from Sunday's first round, polling 10.6 per cent - up more than 2 per cent over his party's showing in 1996. Delighted Edek officials were quick to say the result vindicated the party's decision to field its own candidate, showed public approval for their leader's views and his smooth campaign. The party, having kept both Iacovou and Clerides at arm's length, knows decision time it nigh. Memories of previous presidential polls will be at the back of their minds. In 1988, Edek backed Vassiliou, helping him to secure the majority for the presidency only later to complain that Vassiliou had reneged on promises on the Cyprus problem. In 1993, Edek took the other option - it told its voters they were free to make the choice on their own. A share plumped for Clerides, who pipped through with a razor thin majority, but Edek deputies who opted for Clerides lost their seats in 1996 in what some analysts saw as punishment from the party faithful.
Lyssarides has spoken of political conditions to be put to the two candidates. There has been reference to a need for a ecumenical government.
The results come as a disappointment to former president George Vassiliou, who leads the United Democrats. He took 3 per cent - some 2 per cent below the combined votes of the Free Democrats and Adisok, which merged in 1996 to form the United Democrats. With an anticipated close fight ahead, this still leaves his party with a say on who will be the next president. Vassiliou, while expressing his disappointment at the result, revealed he was already being wooed by both sides. His initial response was also to criticise the Iacovou campaign team, which he said had used whispers to persuade United Democrats voters to back Iacovou in the first round. The charge was denied by Akel, which said Vassiliou had lost votes to Clerides.
Diko rebel Alexis Galanos polled a sizeable 4 per cent, vindicating his decision to break ranks with the party's move to back Iacovou in the first round and positioning him as another potential power broker. Opinion polls indicate Galanos' supporters will in their majority back Clerides in the run-off. Galanos has even come under fire from mainstream Diko that his candidacy was a Trojan horse aiming to take Diko voters to Disy. But yesterday Diko president Spyros Kyprianou said many of Galanos' votes showed respect for the former vice president, rather than a desire to harm the party. And Galanos himself insists that who he will back is not a foregone conclusion. Yesterday, Galanos' spokesman Harris Kyriakides said the result showed that Cypriot voters were not sheep to be herded in support of one candidate or the other.
Nicos Koutsou, the New Horizon's leader, polled 0.91 per cent or 3,625 votes - down from the 1.71 per cent his party took in the 1996 parliamentary elections. The party will still take part in the horsetrading, and will need to look long and hard at why it fell below its expectations. Spokesmen from the party argued the result did not reflect its real strength but was result of a mistaken impression that a vote to the smaller parties would be wasted.
Nicos Rolandis, the Liberal party president received 3,104 votes or 0.78 per cent - a disappointing showing which may lead to his resignation. Spokesmen for the party said Rolandis was seriously considering what to. They added that the result did not reflect voters feelings - Rolandis' message had wider sympathies, but this did not translate into votes. The Liberal party will also be in contacts with the two duellists.
 The mechanics of polling dayBy Jean Christou
POLLS opened at 7am on Sunday as Greek Cypriots turned out to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice.
The final results saw main challenger George Iacovou, 59, garner 40.61 per cent to incumbent President Glafcos Clerides' 40.06 per cent, a difference of just 2,155 votes.
A total of 410,000 (92 per cent) of the 446,976 voters cast their ballot at 118 polling stations all over the island.
These included 17,000 first-time voters, 11,000 Greek Cypriots from abroad and 250 enclaved Greek Cypriots who crossed over from the occupied areas to vote early yesterday morning.
Just over one per cent of voters, or 4,736 people, cast blank ballots, while almost double that number, 8,944 - 2.2 per cent - cast spoiled votes.
The first of the candidates to the ballot box was Diko rebel Alexis Galanos followed shortly after by Iacovou.
By midday, all of the record number of seven candidates had cast their votes, along with 55 per cent of the electorate.
Polls closed on schedule at 5pm and ballot boxes were transferred to the five regional counting centres at Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos and Paralimni.
One of the first ballot boxes received at the Nicosia International Conference centre was one containing votes of the enclaved.
Counting began at 6.30pm and first results were in before 7pm. As predicted, the first count came from a Dhrinia, a small village in Paphos with 69 votes, which put Iacovou slightly ahead, setting the trend for the remainder of the evening's count.
The first region to complete the count was Paphos, followed by Famagusta, Larnaca, Limassol and finally Nicosia, which had to contend with the lion's share of the total disputed ballots of 4,199, all later declared valid. Final results were in a little after 2am, more than two hours behind schedule.
 Market surges on hopes of second Clerides termHamza Hendawi
PROSPECTS of a second term in office for President Glafcos Clerides following Sunday's first round election sparked a surge in share prices on the Cyprus Stock Exchange yesterday.
The official all-share index closed at 81.34 points, up by 1.54 per cent from Friday's close and within a little more than one point of the bourse's all-time high of 82.46 points, recorded on January 2 last year.
"Some investors were advised or felt it was time to buy today because of expectations among some that Clerides will win," said senior stockbroker Stavros Agrotis of CISCO, the Nicosia-based brokerage owned by the Bank of Cyprus Group. "It was a very interesting and exciting day," he added.
Yesterday's rally was underpinned by a volume of £1.25 million, and traders said the bullish mood was largely due to positive sentiments about Clerides' chances of winning next Sunday's run-off rather than on the back of new data or company results.
"Expectations of a good year for tourism have also helped market's tourism sector, whose shares are normally not very active," said George Georgiou of Hellenic Bank Investments.
Tourism, whose shares rose by 4.05 per cent yesterday, accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the island's gross domestic product. Official figures released recently showed that arrivals rose by 5.6 per cent in 1997.
Right-wing Clerides and his main rival, former Foreign Minister George Iacovou, garnered the biggest number of votes in Sunday's election, but both failed to win an absolute majority, leaving them to fight it out one- on-one in Sunday's run-off.
"The market is clearly pro-Clerides, largely because he is widely believed to be the man capable of delivering a solution to the Cyprus problem," said a trader with one of the island's biggest brokerages.
A solution to the seemingly intractable Cyprus problem - or even signs of progress in that direction - is virtually certain to give the market its biggest boost since it began official operations nearly two years ago.
During its brief history, it has shown acute sensitivity to military and political tensions on the island, hitting its all-time low on January 30 last year in the middle of a crisis over the government's purchase of Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles.
Turkey, which boasts Nato's largest army and occupies a third of Cyprus since 1974, has threatened military action if the missiles are ever deployed.
Yesterday's rally in the market, which trades in 98 securities of 46 listed companies, was led by the banking and tourist sectors. All other sectors finished up on Friday's close except "miscellaneous companies", which closed lower by 0.34 per cent.
Bank of Cyprus shares, by far the bourse's most traded stock, closed at £3.37-3.38 pounds, up 6.9 cents, while shares of the Popular Bank fetched £3.38-3.39 apiece, up by 7.4 cents.
The continuing surge in the Banking sector, explained Koullis Panayiotou of CLR Stockbrokers, was due to the expected good 1997 results to be announced shortly by the two banks together with the confidence generated by the Bank of Cyprus since its recent announcement of plans to convert 15 per cent of its issued share capital into Global Depository Receipts and list them on the London Stock Exchange.
"There is also the confidence among many investors that Clerides will win on Sunday and eventually deliver a Cyprus solution and accession to the European Union," said Panayiotou.
 The polls got it rightBy Aline Davidian
PRE-ELECTION opinion polls placing presidential candidates George Iacovou and incumbent Glafcos Clerides neck and neck were vindicted by the results of Sunday's first round of voting.
Of the 409,979 people who went to the polling stations, 40.61 per cent voted for Akel and Diko-backed Iacovou, giving him an overall lead of 0.55 per cent over Disy-backed incumbent President Clerides, who secured 40.06 per cent of votes.
This confirmed the majority of opinion polls, which had predicted the two leading candidates attracting very similar levels of support on Sunday.
The only pre-election poll giving Iacovou a clear lead of 2.4 per cent in the first round was the second Amer Research poll conducted on behalf of Antenna TV.
Curiously, in an earlier poll the same team had predicted a first round difference of 0.5 per cent between Iacovou and Clerides, giving them 36.6 and 36.1 per cent respectively and coming closest to the actual difference.
Conversely, the first Cymar and VPRC poll conducted for CyBC TV, predicted a first round difference of 3.9 per cent between Clerides and Iacovou (at 34.8 and 30.9 per cent respectively) but the same team in a second independent poll, predicted a significantly lower difference of 1.3 per cent.
The second Cymar poll correctly predicted United Democrats' candidate George Vassiliou would secure a lower percentage of votes than most other polls' predictions. Cymar results gave Vassiliou 3.4 per cent, while only 3 per cent of Sunday's voters were in his favour.
Vassiliou had been set to receive up to 6 per cent of votes in one pre- election poll.
All polls correctly predicted Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides would top minority candidates, the Amer team's second poll at 9 per cent coming closest to the Sunday surprise result of 10.59 per cent in his favour.
The last pre-election poll, conducted by Cyprus College for Sigma TV, came closest (at 4.3 per cent) to predicting rebel Diko candidate Alexis Galanos' 4.04 per cent showing on Sunday.
Polling stations recorded 8,944 invalid votes, 4,736 blank ballots and 36, 997 abstentions in the first round of the elections.
 It's all the same to usTHE TURKISH Cypriot side is indifferent to who is elected Cyprus president in next Sunday's second round, newspapers in the north reported yesterday.
Rauf Denktash told reporters in the occupied areas: "There will not be any change in the intentions and policies of the Greek Cypriots no matter who wins the elections."
"It is crystal clear that it will not be possible to reach peace and agreement with them (the Greek Cypriots), so our duty should be to strengthen our state," Denktash said.
Next Sunday, incumbent President Glafcos Clerides and main challenger George Iacovou will battle it out for the top job.
The results are seen as crucial to developments towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem, with the resumption of UN-led peace talks and the opening of EU accession talks, both due in March.
Denktash's hard line was echoed by 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu, who said: "Iacovou talks of peace. We want peace as well. But it will not be possible to achieve peace with a political solution as long as they regard themselves as a state and us as their citizens and as long as they don't recognise the TRNC."
Opposition party leaders in the north meanwhile disagreed over how to interpret the result.
Communal Liberation Party (TKP) leader Mustafa Akinci agreed with Denktash that "there is no difference between Clerides and Iacovou".
"During their election campaigns they both talked about missiles, armaments and rested their chances of winning on this mentality," Akinci said. "If a solution is sought to the Cyprus problem, moves which do not serve peace should be abandoned."
However, fellow opposition party leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who heads the Republican Turkish Party, did not agree.
"The general policies of the person to be elected are very important," Talat said. "From this point of view the election results are important for the Turkish Cypriots as much as they are for the Greek Cypriots."
 Man killed in crash on his way to voteA 40-YEAR-OLD man from Evrychou was fatally injured in a car accident while on his way to vote, police reports said yesterday.
The accident occurred at around 11.40 am on Sunday when Clitos Ioannou collided with a car driven by Savvas Charalambous, 36, from Pano Lakatameia on the Nicosia to Troodos road.
Ioannou was fatally injured and died after being rushed to Evrychou Hospital.
Charalambous and his wife and two children who were travelling with him sustained minor injuries and were transferred to Nicosia General Hospital for medical examination.
 Washed up body could be missing fishermanBy Jean Christou
POLICE believe a body picked up in the sea off Paphos in the early hours of yesterday could be that of missing fisherman Loizos Askanis.
A post mortem will be carried out today on the body, which is in an advanced state of decomposition, Paphos police said.
They said the body was found caught in a fisherman's nets at around 3am off the Paphos coast in the area of Kouklia.
The body, which was taken to the morgue at Limassol hospital, was clad in a khaki shirt but was itself unrecognisable.
The family of Loizos Askanis, missing and feared drowned since May 10 last year, has been asked to try and identify the body.
Askanis, a 39-year-old architect from Yeroskipou, went missing and was feared drowned in a boating accident which also claimed the life of 12-year- old Marios Kyriacou; the boy's father, Michalis Kyriacou, survived, while Askanis' body was never found. The three had been on a late-night fishing trip.
The father and son were found floating in the sea by a fisherman off Paphos at around 6am the following morning, but there was no sign of Askanis. They had been in the sea for more than ten hours, and Loizos was the only one of the three who had not been wearing a life jacket.
The boat, the 18ft Chrysanthi was never found.
Kyriacou said that from the sea they had seen a police search launch in the distance, but had been unable to signal to it.
Askanis' family subsequently questioned the actions of the rescue launch on that night
For months they campaigned through the media in the hope that Askanis may have been picked up by a passing vessel on the night of the accident.
They placed newspaper advertisements in countries in the region and in the occupied areas for information leading to his return.
Recent reports late last year suggested Askanis' body might have washed up in Egypt and been buried there, but the reports proved unfounded.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998