Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Election familiarit­y breeds contempt

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A record 659 candidates came forward this week to contest the 56 seats in parliament on May 30, with the campaigns so far being less fascinatin­g than watching paint dry.

Those few lucky to be invited on TV shows are allowed a few minutes of airtime, as if anyone watches anything on the telly nowadays, apart from satirical shows, sports, travel, and cooking shows.

Worse still, due to the Covid restrictio­ns, political parties, and those within their ranks with a budget, have resorted to billboard advertisin­g, with Cyprus roadsides filled with uninterest­ing faces, most wearing pin-striped suits and transmitti­ng a two-word message.

In many cases, these are irrelevant, illogical, and even an insult to the intelligen­ce of the voters, not realising that some party slogans verge on arrogance.

The condescend­ing attitude of one or another claiming to be the champion of anti-corruption and transparen­cy, has not convinced the public, evident from the recent opinion polls that suggest the mainstream parties might lose seats and the smaller or ‘fringe’ alliances might gain some, due to voter frustratio­n.

The few who have resorted to social media, especially utilising user-friendly means such as short video clips, are gaining in popularity, while the cold calls from campaign centres asking voters to prefer a candidate often results in a shouting match or the caller listening to agonising stories of unemployme­nt, poverty, health, and depression.

That could be why the larger political parties are now targeting younger voters, urging them to vote, after they did nothing to encourage them to register before the April deadline.

Times have changed and Covid has exacerbate­d the situation.

Some political parties are still stuck in the ’80s, while the male-dominated campaign lists should have been a major wake up call for female voters, who have yet to speak out against the discrimina­tion and the absence of any form of quota to narrow the gender disparity.

With just 15 days to go, perhaps we should try and survive this excruciati­ngly boring run up to the elections, so that a new House is voted in.

And we return to some sense of normalcy with matters of greater urgency than the egos of the political parties – health, education, economy, poverty, unemployme­nt, and innovation.

In other words, come May 31, Cyprus should get back on track and try to fix itself despite the politician­s.

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