8 December 2015, Tuesday
Election postponement discussion 'pointless'
Discussion over the possibility of postponing May’s parliamentary elections in light of developments in the Cyprus problem is pointless since a deal was still far away, main opposition AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said on Monday.
Media reports on the weekend claimed President Nicos Anastasiades told party leaders on Saturday to prepare for the possibility of postponing the elections for several months in light of developments in the Cyprus problem.
On Monday, Kyprianou said it was clear from the briefing they had that there was progress in the talks.
“We consider this very positive,” Kyprianou said, but stressed that important issues were still open. “Each of these issues alone could be a big thorn in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.”
Kyprianou said an effort should be made by the leaders and their negotiators to discuss and agree on the remaining chapters as soon as possible but “it is pointless and unnecessary to have discussions now on whether the elections should be postponed.”
His party would discuss the possibility of delaying the elections if and when there was an agreement.
“However, we are far from a potential agreement and that is why we consider this debate pointless and unnecessary,” Kyprianou said.
The AKEL leader criticised sweeping statements from other parties that he suggested may stem from the fact that certain people disagreed with the solution framework of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
“This not only doesn’t help the ongoing effort but on the contrary, it undermines it,” he said.
Kyprianou stressed that “we are deluding ourselves” if some people think that it would be easy to abandon the agreed framework after 38 years of discussions with the international and Turkish Cypriot communities.
“If this happens it is most likely that we will achieve the island’s permanent division, which is not an option for AKEL.”
Following Saturday’s briefing, DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said “I feel the need to warn that the Republic of Cyprus is being led to dissolution.”
On Monday, Papadopoulos demanded answers on whether the constitution would change and which institutions would continue to exist after a solution.
“So far we haven’t received clear answers as to what the president’s position is on these questions,” he said. “Who will draft our constitution? Will they present us with a constitution as was the case in 2004?”
Papadopoulos said it was clear that the scene was being set up for the expeditious settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The DIKO chairman said in essence only one chapter was being discussed: governance, where only the Greek Cypriot side has something to lose.
“We are the state. When we discuss governance and the change of governance, only we can make concessions,” he said.
On the issue of guarantees, Papadopoulos said it was the Greek Cypriots who needed them, not the Turkish Cypriots.
“They have Turkey on their side, the second biggest NATO army, a country of 70mln which can, at any given moment, guarantees or no guarantees, transport tens of thousands of troops on the island and impose its will.”
House President Yiannakis Omirou said on Sunday he did not see much grounds for optimism.
“The euphoria is not justified,” he said of the positive messages coming from the leaders and the UN. ” This emits a wrong signal that there is movement of the Turkish positions and thus prevents pressure on Turkey to abandon its standing intransigence.”
EVROKO chairman Demetris Syllouris did not want to comment on the briefing when asked on Monday.
“The government spokesman can provide any clarifications because I think I shouldn’t publically propagate what I’ve heard, and what I understood might not be real,” he told reporters.
Giorgos Lillikas, chairman of the Citizens’ Alliance, said elections should be postponed only if the Cyprus problem was settled.
He said the party would not accept any appeals to postpone the elections supposedly over the possibility of a solution.
“Because in three or six months they will again cite developments and the possibility of a solution to postpone the elections again,” Lillikas said. “We cannot abolish democracy and return to the 60s.”
Lillikas said they would be the first to ask for a postponement if a fair solution was found.