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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-02-20

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 20, 1998

Who will join the government?

THE DEALINGS between President Clerides and the political parties with regard to the establishment of a government of national unity continued to dominated the front pages.

Simerini noted that several parties were uncertain as to whether they should participate in a national unity government under Clerides. Disy was unwilling to allow vice president Ouranios Ioannides to become minister of education to enable Liberal leader Nicos Rolandis to take his vacated seat in the House.

Disy did not want its strength in the House to be reduced and has suggested that if Rolandis takes Ioannides' seat, the Liberal leader should belong to the Disy parliamentary group. Rolandis though, wants to be in the House as leader of the Liberals.

Phileleftheros said Clerides had given the parties until Saturday to reply to his invitation to join the unity government. Diko was unlikely to join as it had openly attacked Clerides' decision to appoint to Diko rebels in the cabinet - it was as if the president was rewarding the rebels.

Meanwhile Edek leader Dr Lyssarides had said his party would participate in the government, even if other parties decided to turn down Clerides' invitation. Critical times lay ahead for the national problem and unity was essential, Lyssarides said.

Agon claimed that the first clouds had appeared to obscure the objective of a national unity government. The problem arose after one party had demanded a greater number of ministries than Clerides was prepared to give it, the paper said.

Five ministries would be given to Disy, two to Edek, one to the New Horizons, one to the United Democrats and two to the Diko rebels.

Machi said that Clerides was open to suggestions from everyone before taking his final decisions about the composition of his unity cabinet. Conflicting views existed about the cabinet, but Clerides was to take his decisions "entirely on his own".

Haravghi led with a report of a speech about the elections by Akel parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou to members of the party's Limassol branch. He said that the political and moral victor of the elections was George Iacovou.

The election was an "unequal contest", in which Clerides used "political pressure, blackmail, nepotism, public funds, and the distribution of public property" in order to win. Not only was Iacovou the victim of a mud- slinging campaign, but he also had to contend with the unfair treatment of the mass media.

Alithia gave extensive coverage to Dr Lyssarides' response to accusations by Akel that Edek's election stance was to blame for Iacovou's defeat. Lyssarides, in a thinly-veiled reference to Akel leader Demetris Christofias, said that political leaders should have the courage to take responsibility for their actions.

He also accused the Akel leadership of being involved in a "character assassination campaign" against political opponents.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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