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25 June, 2024
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Zero-risk politicians: The Doxa Komodromou scandal unveiled

Silence, overtime, and the politics of accountability

Marina Economides

Marina Economides

The Doxa Komodromou scandal and the shocking revelations that have emerged present a paradox. It's not just about her remaining in her position; it's also about the complete silence that followed these disclosures within the Presidential Office. There's no willingness to admit any wrongdoing, and there are no signs that they plan to address the crisis, even for appearances' sake. Deputy Minister to the President Irene Piki, who was introduced as someone overseeing the work of ministers, holds personal responsibility. First, for the scandal involving Michalis' fake degree, and now, whether she was aware of or approved Doxa Komodromou's excessive overtime claims, she has decided to take some time off amidst these developments. Victor Papadopoulos, for his part, conveniently avoided discussing this matter on state TV, contributing to the image of a government that seems to evade taking responsibility.

Considering this government's track record, it's easy to predict their defense when the President returns from New York. They might argue that this is not a scandal but rather a case of "cannibalism and anthropophagy." It's crucial to emphasize that the Komodromou case is purely a political issue. The handwritten documents revealing overtime charges for tasks like speechwriting, interviews, and even attendance at memorials, funerals, and charity events highlight the government's shortcomings. It's a stark contrast to their promise of something new, different, and more humane. Above all, it shows the government's inclination to function as a bureaucracy that merely follows a schedule, lacks accountability, and, most importantly, stays far from shaping policies.

"...what will be the response to a President who, despite his active promotion of his religion,...has his chosen representative invoicing for her attendance at religious services?"

I wonder what today's civil society, with which Nikos Christodoulides consulted before the elections, and which he promised to prioritize, is thinking now. When the Deputy Government Representative bills the state for her participation in charitable events, it raises questions. Similarly, what will be the response to a President who, despite his active promotion of his religion, including visits to monasteries during a national crisis, has his chosen representative invoicing for her attendance at religious services? I also wonder how nationalist associations and EOKA veterans, who once supported him and his "patriotic positions," view the Deputy Government Representative charging extra for her participation in lectures about EOKA and her attendance at national memorials.

What's troubling about this entire situation is how "the new and untarnished" has been incorporated into politics. It's become a realm of politicians who represent the status quo, incrementalism, and a preference for zero risk. These politicians lack a strategic plan but excel in political maneuvering. Even when their patriotism, religious commitments, and charitable activities align with their official duties, they still charge additional fees for these services.

Doxa Komodromou, who didn't initially position herself politically but insisted on holding both a public service role and a political office for attending ceremonies, is symptomatic of the broader issue. This pattern began with the President of the Republic himself, who, in his pursuit of career security, did the same a decade ago: retaining his position in the diplomatic corps while simultaneously acting as a government representative.

Politics, however, should not function in this manner. Society demands that we move beyond rigid party lines, and politics should modernize. But this cannot be the ultimate solution. Each of us must consider whether, in our efforts to modernize politics, we have stripped it of its core principles and values. Most importantly, we need to ask if, in our pursuit of something new, we've inadvertently incorporated outdated elements into politics, thereby amplifying what we initially aimed to change.

Cyprus  |  politics  |  scandal

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