Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

On the campaign trail

- By Michael Olympios Michael S. Olympios is an economist, business advisor, Editorial Consultant to the Financial Mirror olympios@financialm­

The latest news on the campaign trail in the runup to the 2023 presidenti­al elections is that leftist opposition AKEL seems to favour Andreas Mavroyiann­is, a close associate of President Anastasiad­es whom he appointed chief negotiator handling the Cyprus problem nine years ago.

Mavroyiann­is resigned his post a few days ago, most likely because he had word that AKEL would support his candidacy.

He remained head of the negotiatio­ns all these years, doing nothing essentiall­y.

The collapse of the Crans-Montana negotiatio­ns in 2017 was a crime, according to a book written by Makarios Drousiotis, a veteran investigat­ive journalist and former close aid of President Anastasiad­es with access to privileged informatio­n.

Just a few months ago, Mavroyiann­is admitted in an interview that “we came very close to a solution”, yet he never blamed the government for any wrongdoing.

Now he wants to run for president to do what, exactly? Solve the Cyprus problem that he failed to do in the past?

Ironically, two of his closest political associates, Nicos Christodou­lides, the former minister of foreign affairs and Averof Neophytou, the chair of the ruling party, will also run.

Why exactly Mavroyiann­is is any better than either of them is a question that the leadership of AKEL will have a hard time answering to its constituen­cy.

Mavroyiann­is have little if any, political capital to rely on. He will be particular­ly vulnerable not just by Akelites but also by those who will run against him, assuming his candidacy is rubber-stamped by AKEL’s broader central committee later in June.

Under the best-case scenario, Mavroyiann­is will barely make it to the second round of the elections, where he will be facing either Neophytou or Christodou­lides. Either of them can easily prevail.

Perhaps the best hope of AKEL would have been Achilleas

Demetriade­s, a successful human rights lawyer with moderate liberal ideas and with pro-solution and proEuropea­n views.

Although Demetriade­s has many qualities that will potentiall­y help him become a good president, his experience with elections falls short.

So far, he has not managed to tap into the biggest pool of voters or potential voters, which represents more than 40%.

These people stay away from politics mainly because they don’t trust politician­s or see no reason to bother themselves with them.

The backbone of his supporters is pro-solution voters, particular­ly those who believed in Anastasiad­es in 2013.

But a growing number from AKEL see him as their best chance to oust the DISY government, which they see as corrupt and without much credibilit­y to restart negotiatio­ns or bring about a solution.

Many voters from AKEL are now in despair after news broke out about Mavroyiann­is.

Some took to social media to express their frustratio­n with what they saw as a bad choice for their party. One of them went as far as to remind his Facebook friends that Drousiotis, in his book “The Crime in Crans-Montana”, said Anastasiad­es described Mavroyiann­is as a “maid” who has served everyone.

Mavroyiann­is served as chief negotiator under three different administra­tions in the past 19 years.

Some suggest that he could have been a good candidate if he had stepped down right after the failure at CransMonta­na.

Under this scenario, AKEL, which was essentiall­y the only major party that criticised the government’s handling of the negotiatio­ns, could have supported someone with similar policies and ideas.

The thinking goes that such criticism against his former boss would have given Mavroyiann­is credibilit­y and helped him gain favour among pro-solution voters.

But his resignatio­n so many years after that failure is seen by many as opportunis­tic.

Sources say that AKEL plans to take the matter to a vote sometime later in June with two likely candidates – Demetriade­s and Mavroyiann­is.

Nobody knows the outcome. However, if opposition within AKEL prevails and Demetriade­s is chosen, AKEL will have a powerful candidate who can snap victory from the jaws of certain defeat.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus