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Papadopoulos throws down the gauntlet
DIKO deputy Nicolas Papadopoulos yesterday announced his intention to run for the leadership of the party in a bid to take over from Marios Garoyian whose leadership he said was marred by a series of bad choices that have damaged the party’s integrity.
The son of the former president Tassos Papadopoulos stepped down as DIKO vice-chairman in January in what he said was a “political act of disagreement with the decision to back Mr Anastasiades” in the presidential elections.
DISY’s Nicos Anastasiades went on to win the elections, thanking Garoyian and DIKO voters for their support.
Papadopoulos had pleaded with DIKO delegates to reject Anastasiades’ candidacy and instead support the independent Giorgos Lillikas, a move that resonated with a number of DIKO voters.
Garoyian’s second term as DIKO leader expires next week on Friday.
Papadopoulos said yesterday that Garoyian’s term was “ marred and is defined by a series of bad decisions and developments that not only hurt our party’s integrity but also failed to prevent the negative developments we are living through today in both (the Cyprus problem) but also the economy”.
Papadopoulos criticised DIKO for remaining in coalition with the previous AKEL government of Demetris Christofias, who was too yielding when it came to the Cyprus problem, he said.
Papadopoulos also described as “unjustifiable” that DIKO remained in the government “despite our intense and substantial disagreement on the handling of the economy and domestic policy”.
There were “timely and continuous warnings” about the state of the economy that were not heeded, said Papadopoulos, who as head of the House finance committee often came out calling for more substantial action to tackle the deteriorating state of the economy, now in need of an international bailout.
DIKO did leave the government following the July 11 naval base blast in Mari which killed 13 people, knocked out the country’s main power station, and infuriated thousands of members of the public.
Papadopoulos said that DIKO has been losing voters and relevance over time and accused the leadership of contempt towards DIKO members who went against Garoyian in the elections and did not vote for Anastasiades.
In the run-up to elections, polls consistently showed DIKO voters as split between Anastasiades and Lillikas, who was eliminated from a run-off with a nonetheless substantial 24.93 per cent of the votes.
People are under the impression that “the party is in politics with the sole purpose of participating in power and amassing as many state posts as possible for its top brass members,” Papadopoulos said.
DIKO supported Demetris Christofias in the 2008 presidential elections after their own incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos was knocked out.
“The responsibility for DIKO’s negative presence, modus operandi and image weighs down first and foremost on… Marios Garoyian,” Papadopoulos said.
“It is time to make the people of DIKO proud again,” he said.
Papadopoulos said that DIKO should stop being split in two camps – i.e. those supporting Papadopoulos and those supporting Garoyian – and become “whole, united, and proud” again.
He appealed to all DIKO supporters to participate in the party’s electoral congress, possibly in May.
The “official” wing of DIKO said in an announcement that the collective body would evaluate any behaviour that has hurt the party “evaluating at the same time behaviour and actions of party members that have stood against DIKO choices and decisions, decisions taken via democratic procedures”.
“At any rate, no one is allowed to insult or belittle with insulting references, his co-fighters but also the party he belong to just because he has a different political view,” the announcement said.
“Papadopoulos has the right to serve his personal ambitions, but not the right to anticipate what the decisions of the collective bodies will be,” the statement said.