Cyprus’ nationalist party ELAM says its president will seek the speakership of the House, following Sunday’s parliamentary elections that doubled the party’s seats while mainstream political movements lost ground.
Christos Christou, president of the People’s National Front, will seek the position of presiding over the Republic of Cyprus’ legislative assembly, according to a statement issued by his party ELAM.
“We thank the 24,255 citizens who have placed their trust in us and also give us today the opportunity to seek a further enhancement of ELAM’s role in society,” the statement said.
Local media were quick to speculate on the speakership race after Sunday’s election, where despite ruling party DISY coming first, the ruling conservatives also lost voters who either chose to stay home or support smaller parties.
Despite ruling party DISY coming first, the conservatives lost voters who chose to stay home or support smaller parties
The other large party that lost voters, communist AKEL, also suffered a major defeat, with the workers’ party still coming second despite its vote having fallen to a historic low.
Third place went to centrist DIKO, whose president Nicholas Papadopoulos has been criticizing the government over the golden passport scandal.
Speculation over who might be the next House Speaker was rampant last December and early this year when the government was looking for allies to pass the budget after losing DIKO support over the passport scandal and corruption allegations.
Socialist EDEK party leader, Marinos Sizopoulos, was rumored to be a candidate after his party dropped its opposition to a revised budget, allowing the administration to count on the small party’s crucial votes during negotiations. ELAM also voted for the budget.
But an EDEK presidency would need firm alliances, according to local pundits who have pointed to DISY, EDEK, DIPA and ELAM trying to elect a speaker of the House.
The socialist party came in fifth on Sunday, while new moderate DIPA democrats came sixth. But with ELAM in fourth place and double the seats from last time, it was still unknown how much Christou’s claim to the speakership might depend on those alliances.
Christou and his party have been criticized for espousing racist rhetoric and anti-migrant policies. ELAM has also been linked to Greece’s outlawed Golden Dawn movement, but the party’s original name “Golden Dawn Cyprus” had been rejected by state election authorities.