House president quits party post
House President Yiannakis Omirou resigned as leader of the socialist party EDEK on Tuesday, a decision that caught many by surprise, but not unexpected considering the internal turmoil and disgruntled membership.
Omirou said in his letter of resignation sent to deputy leader Marinos Sizopoulos that he had often been undermined from within the party and that he did not want to fuel further gossip and ambitions of a few.
“Those who instigated this pitiful blackmail would have easily determined that I can neither be blackmailed, nor do I compromise with humiliation for the sake of maintaining or securing positions or offices.”
Omirou has often been accused by party faithful of not budging from the leadership simply because he secured the parliamentary chair.
His resignation followed a letter from party secretary Yiannos Efstathiou last October, which described the situation within the party as “problematic” and suggested that Omirou was responsible and should go.
As a way of tackling the problem, Efstathiou asked Omirou not to run as an MP for Nicosia in 2016, and not to contest the party leadership at the next congress. As his suggestions were not discussed by other party officers, Efstathiou resigned on January 5.
The 63-year-old politician has been at the helm of EDEK since 2001. His resignation follows a crushing defeat in the mayoral by-election of his home town Paphos on Sunday where a common candidate supported with the other opposition parties AKEL and DIKO failed to muster more than a quarter of the vote, in tally disproportionate to three parties’ voter strength.
Some party members have also been named in a multi million scandal involving the Paphos sewerage system, while EDEK has struggled to keep a respectable parliamentary presence in recent years.
EDEK holds five of the 56 seats in parliament and elected one MEP last May.