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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-02-14

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, February 14, 1998

Edek decision boosts Clerides

EDEK'S decision not to come out in favour of either candidate in tomorrow's election was the lead story in almost all the papers.

Simerini reported that 90 of the 109 Edek delegates voted for a neutral stance. Only 16 voted in favour of backing one or other of the candidates.

The two-day meeting lasted 15 hours, with 75 delegates making speeches. Most of them endorsed the leadership's suggestion for a free vote. Those who wanted to back George Iacovou were very few indeed, the paper said.

Phileleftheros reported that party leader Dr Lyssarides closed the meeting with a 45-minute summing-up speech. He said that the commitment of both candidates to forming a national unity government ensured the unity of the people.

He also mentioned the moves to set up a 'coalition of hope' and blamed their failure on Akel. This, however, was not the reason Edek had declined to back Iacovou. With its stance, Edek had paved the way for unity and the shaping of a national strategy, Lyssarides said.

Agon said Edek's decision, in combination with the support of the small parties for President Clerides, rendered his re-election almost a certainty.

The share of the vote secured by the candidates of these parties in the first round last Sunday indicated Clerides would score a big victory tomorrow.

Haravghi led with a report of the impassioned plea by Akel leader Demetris Christofias for unity of all the "democratic forces" so that change could be achieved.

He was saddened by the "harmful and mistaken" decision to back Clerides by the United Democrats, but was sure its supporters would ignore their party's instructions.

He said that Democrats leader George Vassiliou, guided by "emotion and personal ambitions", was leading his party into the arms of those who had voted him out of office five years ago.

Machi followed up its story of the previous day which claimed that a power struggle was taking place within Akel.

It said Christofias had sidelined Akel deputy Nicos Katsourides, barring him from TV and radio appearances. (Katsourides was on TV the previous night).

Christofias was said to be afraid that after Iacovou's "certain defeat on Sunday" Katsourides would pose a threat to his leadership. The party leader would be in a vulnerable position because Iacovou had been his personal choice for candidate.

Alithia lambasted Akel-owned radio station Astra for an "unprecedented, politically unethical and vicious attack" against George Vassiliou in the wake of the Democrats' decision to support Clerides in the second round.

The abuse levelled against Vassiliou by callers to the station caused "disgust", the paper said. Vassiliou was repeatedly called "a Hitler". The paper said it could not repeat the terms of abuse directed at Democrats deputy leader Michalis Papapetrou.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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