The preliminary findings of the report issued by the PEGA investigation committee, the works carried out at the Limassol Municipal Garden, and the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zones between Cyprus and Greece were the subject of press releases issued by presidential candidates on Wednesday.
Presidential candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis said in a written statement, that, after the naturalizations scandal, it was now the turn of the surveillance scandal. He said that the DISY government and its key actors, Averof Neophytou and Nikos Christodoulides, bear full responsibility for this scandal of violation of fundamental rights and institutional entanglement, as well as for the attempt to cover it up.
Our demand, he said, is the full investigation of what has been revealed and that responsibility is attributed, noting that it was unthinkable that human rights are affected in such a way while those ruling the country are shying away from their responsibilities and from scrutiny. Mavroyiannis called on the Cypriot people to put an end to this downfall in February with their vote.
In another written statement, candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis called for the protection of the Limassol Municipal Garden and the immediate suspension of the construction works carried out there to allow public consultation on the matter, which will take into account the environmental studies and ensure the protection of the greenery area, as well as the historical importance of the Garden.
He noted that lately, they are witnessing the cementing of part of the Garden, despite residents’ protests, adding that the works are being carried out based on a decision, without any public consultations. Mavroyiannis said that any intervention ought to be carried out after acquiring all the required permits and approvals.
Candidate Nikos Christodoulides, in statements after signing the book of condolence for Archbishop Chrysostomos II, expressed his sorrow for his death and praised his work and the legacy he is leaving behind, which, he said, was of historic importance, since, among other things, led to the reinforcement of the autocephalous of the Church of Cyprus.
On the issue of surveillance, candidate Achilleas Demetriades, said that Cyprus’ reputation continues to be tarnished internationally, noting that, President Anastasiades and his government are pretending that nothing is going on as was the case with the "golden passports", and the Pandora Papers. He added that restoring the country’s credibility requires a change in leadership and taking steps to break out of the vicious cycle of corruption. Demetriades said that, if elected as President, he will ask the Cabinet to initiate an independent criminal investigation of the cases pending before the EU and ask for the assistance of competent European institutions in areas “in which we are clearly not doing our job well”.
Presidential candidate Marios Eliades said that despite President Nicos Anastasiades and his government’s effort to make people believe that the issue raised by the European Parliament's inquiry committee to investigate the use of Pegasus software (PEGA) does not concern Cyprus, the preliminary report of the findings indicates otherwise.
Eliades said that it is clear that the absolute responsibility of turning Cyprus into "a haven for every kind of illegal activity" lies solely with the government and state institutions have proved once again they are unable or unwilling to defend the national interest and rights and freedoms of the people. He also said the references in the rapporteur’s preliminary report about the handling of the spy van case and links of illegal software traffickers with state officials’ relatives raise questions.
Presidential candidate George Colocassides, in a press release, said that excuses about the demarcation of the Greece-Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) have been over for years now and the best reply to Turkish provocations would be a coordinated response.
He said the Cyprus-Greece EEZ is an unacceptable pending issue as Nicosia and Athens have not dared to protect their maritime borders. Colocassides said that if the two states want to be called sovereign, they must declare their EEZ.
In the meantime, the Panagrotikos farmers' association, announced it will back the candidacy of DISY leader Averof Neophytou noting that all these years, Neophytou has been a supporter in the difficult struggle of finding solutions to several problems faced by farmers.