The Political Office of the Democratic Rally is calling on party supporters to vote their conscience in the runoff election on Sunday, after their candidate’s third place drew mixed reactions that signaled a rift among some conservatives.
In a Tuesday late night DISY meeting at Filoxenia Conference Center in Nicosia, the outgoing ruling party’s political office decided to call on supporters to vote their conscience on Sunday, when left-backed Andreas Mavroyiannis goes up against party member and center-backed Nicos Christodoulides.
DISY president Averof Neophytou, who came third last Sunday, lashed out at critics, echoing what media pundits called anger in the audience directed towards fellow party member Christodoulides who had launched his own candidacy and sought broad alliances.
“We did not lose this election, we won our identity, our principles and values upon which DISY was founded, not for the seat of power but for our beliefs,” Neophytou said.
'We did not lose this election, we won our identity, our principles and values upon which DISY was founded, not for the seat of power but for our beliefs'
Prior to party officials voting to stay neutral, two other proposals had been defeated.
Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos had proposed for DISY to vote for Mavroyiannis, a vote that would see rival AKEL voting for the same candidate, but the motion that was defeated after getting only 6 votes.
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou had called for the conservative party to vote for Christodoulides, but angry party members shouted down the idea, which only got 2 votes.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who turned his back on the meeting after voicing support for Christodoulides, was expected to attend but he did not show up.
Judases and defectors
Last year Neophytou had sought clear support from Anastasiades after the outgoing president was accused of undermining DISY's candidacy, a perception that the commander-in-chief had rejected in the past.
Rumors of a Christodoulides run emerged when he resigned his position as foreign minister in January 2022. His successor, Ioannis Kasoulides, said the foreign ministry had been unreliable during his predecessor’s tenure.
“When I was announcing my run for office, I was also aware of Judases and defectors against me,” Neophytou said.
Christodoulides, who is running on a broad platform, called on DISY voters to embrace his candidacy.
Mavroyiannis, who vowed to go after corruption, has also called on DISY members to support his ticket.
DISY officer and former finance minister Harris Georgiades said either way the party will be in the opposition after Sunday.
“There are big differences between the party and the views expressed by the two candidates,” Georgiades told state radio on Wednesday morning.
Georgiades, who is thought to be a possible successor to Neophytou, declined to comment on future plans but said he did not expect high ranking party members to join the next government administration.