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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-02-13

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 13, 1998

Which way will Edek jump?

WHILE pro-government newspapers welcomed the decision of George Vassiliou's party, the United Democrats, to back President Clerides in the Sunday ballot, the others predicted that Edek would side with neither candidate.

Phileleftheros reported that Edek's marathon central committee meeting, despite Akel's "dramatic pleas" to back George Iacovou, did not reach a decision.

The commitment of both candidates to establish a national unity government and their acceptance of all the other terms set by Edek, led the majority of party members to support a "free choice" on Sunday - the party leadership would tell members to make their own voting decision on Sunday.

Simerini said the Edek central committee had four choices with regard to the elections: 1) free vote, 2) back Clerides, 3) back Iacovou, 4) support for Iacovou, with criticism exercised against Akel for its role in the dissolution of the Coalition of Hope, while allowing those who disagreed to vote for Clerides.

The paper said that the open support for Clerides voiced by some Edek members during the meeting, was unprecedented.

Haravghi carried extracts of the letter sent by Akel chief Demetris Christofias to Edek leader Dr Lyssarides, begging the latter to back Iacovou's candidacy. People expected Akel and Edek "to become the main instruments of change," said Christofias.

Change of government would only be achieved by the "unity and co-operation of the democratic and progressive forces," Edek and Akel, said Christofias in his letter.

Machi reported that Akel deputy Nikos Katsourides, who is also the managing director of Haravghi, was in the bad books of the leadership for publishing the results of an opinion poll two days before the elections, which gave Iacovou a four-point lead.

Katsourides had been questioned by party officials about the accuracy of the poll results, which, in retrospect, were grossly misleading. The paper claimed that Katsourides had been sidelined by the party leadership, banished from appearing on television and helping in the Iacovou campaign. There was speculation that after the elections Katsourides would be expelled by the party.

Alithia applauded the decision of the United Democrats to back Clerides. This increased Clerides' election momentum, especially after similar decisions had been taken by the Liberals, New Horizons and the supporters of Alexis Galanos.

Agon said that former president Vassiliou had claimed that Iacovou was not fit to handle the Cyprus problem. He had also criticised Akel and Diko for backing Iacovou.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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