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Our View: It was not DISY that invited the troika it was AKEL
THE AKEL camp wasted no time in embarking on the demonization of Nicos Anastasiades ahead of the Sunday’s decisive vote. The DISY leader, predictably, is being presented as a right-wing scourge who would impose austerity measures, cuts and privatise semi-governmental organisations, while the ‘independent’ AKEL candidate Stavros Malas would ignore the commands of the EU about privatisations and protect the interests of the “workers and middle class” with which the party “has identified for decades”.
This was the gist of yesterday’s comments made by AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou who was setting the campaign agenda of the next few days. Anastasiades was a force of conservatism, said Kyprianou whereas Malas represented the “democratic and progressive forces” of the country. “A significant majority of the Cypriot voters did not trust Mr Anastasiades, because they knew he had no boundaries or conditions as regards the Cyprus problem,” said Kyprianou in a demonstration of the communist talent for re-inventing reality.
Did it not occur to him that a much more significant majority – in fact the overwhelming majority - of the voters did not trust Malas who polled 27 per cent of the vote compared to Anastasiades’ 45.4 per cent? But what can you expect from a party that is telling us not to vote for Anastasiades because he would impose austerity measures and cuts?
These have already been imposed by the AKEL government which invited the troika and agreed a memorandum of understanding with it. Are cutting public sector wages, benefits and pensions, reducing welfare payments, freeze on new appointment not austerity measures? These were not imposed by Anastasiades, but by the AKEL government. It is not Anastasiades who decided to raise taxes and further reduce the disposable income of the workers and the middle classes that AKEL is protecting.
And if the new president “obeyed the commands of the EU and went ahead with extensive privatisations, today’s 50,000 unemployed would increase by tens of thousands,” warned Kyprianou. Leaving aside the fact that under AKEL’s gross mismanagement of the economy, unemployment is at record levels, the government should come clean about the privatisations which are stipulated in the memorandum it agreed to. Proceeding with privatisations would not be a question of obeying the EU but of honouring the AKEL government’s agreement with the troika.
The Anastasiades camp should focus on debunking the myths being served to the voters by the AKEL propaganda machinery with facts, instead of allowing it to present a reality in which the party which bankrupted the state, officially agreed to privatisations, imposed austerity policies and caused unprecedented unemployment is blameless. DISY should also keep reminding voters of the other big lie being served by AKEL – Malas is an ‘independent’ candidate.