When Nicos Anastasiades was campaigning in 2013 for the presidency in the Republic of Cyprus under the banner “leadership in times of crisis” many people bought into the idea that the leader on the right would recognize the gravity of the situation and had a plan ready to get the country out of a tight spot.
The most capable and incorruptible people would be working under this plan, where he would present solutions to problems that had been piling up day by day, in both the economy but also the Cyprus issue. I leave it up to others to judge for themselves whether those expectations have been met or if those commitments were kept, so let’s move on and jump to today.
An opinion poll conducted by Kathimerini Cyprus reveals numbers that ought to be sounding the alarm for those in power, both in terms of the way they govern but also for the way they behave during their second term. About 78% of respondents appeared to be either a little bit satisfied or none at all with the current situation in Cyprus, while 75% declared they were a little bit satisfied or none at all with the Anastasiades administration. One year after his reelection, the President of the Republic is viewed negatively at 54% while 56% of the respondents reject his performance.
The number crunching also gets interesting when it comes to cooperative banking and the credit unions, in other words the corpse that was full of life as they were saying publicly on the campaign trail and everyone is to blame for its collapse.
About 35% blame primarily the Anastasiades administration while 32% point fingers at Finance Minister Harris Georgiades. In fact, the minister takes a beating with 65% of respondents believing he ought to resign, despite Nicos Anastasiades going to bat for him. The minister’s popularity numbers also took a beating but this is something that he needs to address on his own.
A president who got the public mandate to solve the Cyprus problem should have thought twice before talking about opposition fishing for Turkish Cypriot votes
But the credit unions are not the only problem, as 67% of respondents said they were a little bit or none at all satisfied with the president’s handling of the Cyprus issue, and this alone should be telling something to Nicos Anastasiades. He has not managed to convince anyone with his entering into the blame game with Mustafa Akinci and pulling out new imaginative ideas that slip away from the scope of the Guterres framework, something which had been front and centre during his reelection bid. People don’t buy it even when he is addressing a tough audience.
After all, a president who was assuring people he was willing to solve the Cyprus problem and got the public mandate for it should have thought twice before talking about left opposition fishing for Turkish Cypriots votes. He should have held back before managing to provoke the entire gamut of an electoral body. And he should have thought twice before stating a position like a political party leader instead of a state leader.
Because, as much as it may escape him, he is president of all Cypriots, both Greek Cypriots but also those Turkish Cypriots who come to cast a ballot despite the 1960 Constitution calling for separate elections for the two communities. This is something they are willing to do despite attacks and pressure coming from nationalist circles in their community speaking of high treason. But they intend to vote because they want to send the message that they themselves still believe that living together and solving the Cyprus problem can both be done.
So basically all these moves combined together with the opinion poll findings reveal the collision of two worlds. In one world, Cypriot society has its own experience while in the other the powers that be choose to see things in their own way. These rulers never fail to assure us that they have become complacent in arrogance and self-conceit of power. An arrogance that drives them straight into corruption. And if they were indeed living in their own little cocoon, maybe we wouldn’t mid so much. But they still have four years ahead of them so maybe it’s time to come through on their commitments and govern for a change.
The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 14 April 2019