House pres­i­dent quits party post

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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