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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-02-11

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

News Update

Wednesday, 11/02/98


CONTENTS

  • [01] Idea of a national unity government gets support from both presidential contenders
  • [02] Democratic Party splinter group endorses Clerides for President
  • [03] Small parties in decision mood


[01] Idea of a national unity government gets support from both presidential contenders

Presidential contenders Glafcos Clerides and George Iacovou accepted Socialist Party EDEK's proposal to form an all-party government if elected.

EDEK's central committee will decide on Wednesday evening (11.2.98) which candidate to endorse. Its decision could be decisive in determining who will be Cyprus's next president.

After meeting Mr Clerides, Dr Lyssarides said the president asked for some minor clarifications but had conveyed his satisfaction with the Edek document.

"He (Clerides) agreed in principle and substance", said Lyssarides.

Mr Iacovou said his positive response should have come as no surprise seeing as his positions were "duplicated" by Edek's proposals.

"We agree to an all-party government provided no coupists or anybody involved in EOKA B are included", said Iacovou.

Mr Lyssarides agreed to the stipulation but said a large part of the population could not be excluded from government simply because it was disapproved of by another. "I'm satisfied the document has been accepted in its entirety", he said.

Although AKEL gave the green light to Edek's proposal for a government of national unity, it voiced serious reservations.

"We believe that it would be difficult to see it functioning properly, especially if Clerides is president", said Akel General-secretary Demetris Christofias.

He made it clear Akel would take no part in an all-party government headed by Clerides.

Edek's blueprint caused a storm of activity on Tuesday (10.2.98) as the various parties familiarised themselves with its details.

There were positive overtures from Disy, and Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou said he had no objections whatsoever to the blueprint.

But Kyprianou also had reservations over the Clerides factor in any rainbow alliance.

Asked whether Diko would participate in a national unity government led by Clerides, Kyprianou said: "No... the main reason being that the president can handle the national issue any way he wants, unfortunately".

In an attempt to woo Edek voters, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades said he and Clerides viewed the Lyssarides blueprint, "in a favourable light".

He added that the gap between Clerides and Lyssarides on all the issues in the document was insignificant.

"In principle I do not think there is any substantive divergence of views", said Anastassiades. Describing Lyssarides as a "historic leader", Anastassiades said if anybody could achieve national unity it was the Edek chief.

Disy and Clerides had always supported a government of national unity if it was practically possible.

Anastassiades added that his party "was not allergic to Diko and Akel participating in such a government".

Although Lyssarides held the centre of attention on Tuesday, the Clerides camp was securing vital support elsewhere.

Diko rebel Alexis Galanos and New Horizon's leader Nicos Koutsou both put their weight behind the president's bid for a second term in office.

It is believed Liberal leader Nicos Rolandis will also endorse Clerides today.

[02] Democratic Party splinter group endorses Clerides for President

Alexis Galanos, the presidential candidate who formed a splinter group with personalities from the Democratic Party (DIKO) and received an unexpected 4% of the vote in last Sunday's elections (8.2.98) has pledged his support to President Glafcos Clerides's candidacy for the second round on 15.2.98.

Mr Galanos, a former President of the House of Representatives and vice- president of former President Spyros Kyprianou's Democratic Party (Diko) disagreed with Mr Kyprianou's decision to break up his 41/2 years partnership with President Clerides's government and join forces with communist party AKEL in supporting candidate George Iacovou.

Mr Galanos's disagreement is shared by the Democratic party's own Vice- President Mr Dinos Michaelides and a number of DIKO senior figures who have openly backed what they call the "true DIKO candidacy" of Mr Galanos.

Announcing his decision during a press conference on Tuesday, 10.2.98, Alexis Galanos said that re-electing Mr Clerides would be best for Cyprus and for Diko. He said the incumbent president had given a pledge to form a government of national unity, and, if other parties refused, a government of wider acceptance.

Diko's vice-president and former Minister of the Interior Dinos Michaelides praised Mr Clerides as the only man who could lead Cyprus in the critical times ahead and urged Diko supporters to vote for him en masse. He had felt the need to make his statement in view of his five years co-operation with the president, he added.

In taking his decision, Mr Galanos said he had also been swayed by the fact that a large majority of Diko sympathisers had voted against the Diko leadership's choice- George Iacovou - in the first round.

He said Mr Iacovou received only 5 to 6 per cent of the Diko vote, and Galanos could not ignore the wish of the majority of Diko to work for Clerides. And he added that he was certain Mr Iacovou would receive even fewer Diko votes in the run-off.

[03] Small parties in decision mood

The New Horizons Party, whose candidate Nicos Koutsou, received 0.9% in last Sunday's (8.2.98) first round of presidential elections, has decided on Tuesday (10.2.98) to support President Clerides's candidacy in the run- off on 15.2.98.

Mr Koutsou's share of the vote, though small, may prove crucial to Clerides's re-election bid since the difference between the two front runners, Clerides and George Iacovou, is marginal with half a percentage point.

Another small party, the Liberals, with 0.7% of the vote are also expected to endorse Mr Clerides, with whom they had co-operated in previous elections.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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