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12° Nicosia,
30 May, 2024
 
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'O Captain, My Captain!', says Averof to Nikos

'But how much of a 'helmsman' is the President of DISY, who in one week has suffered two serious political defeats, one major and, in my view, a political shit-storm'

Pavlos Xanthoulis

Pavlos Xanthoulis

When the poet Walt Whitman wrote the famous poem "O captain! My captain" in 1865, he was thinking of Abraham Lincoln as the "helmsman" and the American state as the ship that anchored safely in Lincoln's hands. And when Robin Williams played a professor in the excellent film "The Dead Poets Society" in 1989, he used this poem, "O captain! My captain," to teach his students to think outside the box and stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost.

Neither the poet nor the actor could have imagined the political reality of Cyprus. And the ease with which the leader of Cyprus's largest political party can label someone an "apostate" and/or "Judas" and then explode against him, declaring that the "apostate's" proposals are outside the framework of DISY's principles and values. While a few days later, he hugs the previously labeled "apostate," promising him support and even referring to him as a "helmsman," in a Cypriot political-level execution of Walt Whitman's poem that stunned us all.

Neofytou was defeated for a second time because (some) members disregarded his public call...Christodoulides triumphed, and as a result, the "helmsman" of DISY received a political ass-kicking.

And of course, the question here is not whether Nikos Christodoulides is a 'helmsman', which will be judged according to the course of the ship, which he has not yet taken over. But how much of a 'helmsman' is the President of DISY, the largest political party in Cyprus, who in one week has suffered two serious political defeats, one major and, in my view, a political shit-storm.  Averof Neofytou's responsibilities are enormous, but the responsibilities of the majority of his colleagues are not insignificant. As in the case of the party's presidential candidate Demetris Demetriou, who was not among those who advised Averof Neofytou to reconsider running for president, but did not even attempt to criticize himself after the DISY party's defeat at the meeting of the expanded Political Bureau.

In any case, Averof Neofytou insisted on running for office, despite polls showing him with a starting point of 6%. And, despite the fact that he was visited by Konstantinos Petrides, Petros Demetriou, and Yannis Karousos last summer and September to suggest that he reconsider his candidacy and support another person, electable according to measurements, Averof Neofytou insisted on his own candidacy.

And, despite dragging the DISY party into an election battle that everyone knew he couldn't win, Neofytou was defeated, even after the support of the majority of his colleagues. After losing, he and N. Anastasiades agreed that DISY would enter the second round with a conscience vote. However, the "helmsman" of DISY himself deviated from this determined "course" and publicly gave another direction to his own ship, in favor of Andreas Mavroyiannis and against Nikos Christodoulides, despite the tolerance of most of his colleagues and MPs. Because, as he said, he had an opinion and would not cast a "white" vote. And because, as he explained, "history can forget the heroes, but never the traitors".

And Mr. Neofytou was defeated for a second time because 7 out of 10 assembly members disregarded his public call. Andreas Mavroyiannis, the second-round candidate he had chosen, was eliminated. Nikos Christodoulides triumphed, and as a result, the "helmsman" of DISY received a political ass-kicking. To the promises, hugs, and kisses that Averof Neofytou sparingly bestowed upon the former "renegade." It is obvious that the choices of the "helmsman" of DISY both in the first round, and in the second round, and now, in view of the internal party elections for the leadership of the coalition, do not take into account the "ship" of Walt Whitman. But, exclusively and only the chair, which was not part of the American journalist and poet's poem.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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Cyprus  |  elections  |  politics

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