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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-02-19

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, February 19, 1998

Clerides' party invitation

MOST newspapers led with reports about President Clerides' plan to send letters to all political parties, inviting them to participate in a national unity government. They also carried speculation about the probable line-up of the cabinet.

Simerini reported that Clerides had adopted the suggestion by United Democrats' leader George Vassiliou, that all the parties should take part in the efforts to set up a national unity government.

Vassiliou had suggested that letters, inviting the leaders of Diko and Akel to participate in the national unity government, should be sent, irrespective of the fact that the two parties had said they would not join the government. Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides also backed this approach, the paper said.

Phileleftheros said that Lyssarides had undertaken to act as an intermediary between the president and Akel and Diko, in the event that Clerides' written invitation was turned down.

Meanwhile the Edek executive committee was to decide yesterday whether to participate in the government. Party officials said that Edek would be guilty of inconsistency if it declined the offer to participate in a unity government, which had been a Lyssarides proposal in the first place.

Alithia claimed that Clerides would finalise his decisions about the new cabinet by the end of the week. He was expected to retain Nicos Koshis (justice), Ioannis Cassoulides (foreign affairs), and Leontios Ierodiakonou (communications) and to bring back Diko rebels Dinos Michaelides and Andreas Moushiouttas to the ministries they had run until recently.

It was not certain whether he would retain Christodoulos Christodoulou at the finance ministry. Two ministries (health and defence) had been earmarked for Edek.

Machi said Disy vice president Ouranios Ioannides might be given the education ministry, which would vacate his seat in the House for first runner-up Liberal leader Nicos Rolandis. Costas Themistocleous of the United Democrats could get the Agriculture Ministry.

Haravghi reported that Akel would continue to work responsibly within the National Council and the Council for National Policy, which is to be set up, so there would be unity in the handling of the national problem.

There was no way it would participate in a national unity government because it did not see eye to eye with Clerides on a range of domestic issues, including socio-economic policy.

Agon claimed there were "after shocks" within Diko after the decision of the party's executive office to expel five leading members including the deputy leader, Dinos Michaelides. Diko deputies were expected to meet in the next few days to find a compromise that would allow the return of the expelled members.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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