by Oriana Papantoniou
"DISY party members who will vote for Christodoulides are just those who are dissatisfied with the party for personal reasons. The overwhelming majority of them do not want Nicolas Papadopoulos, Sizopoulos, Eleni Theocharous, or Karoyian to serve in the next Cabinet," Katie Cleridou tells Kathimerini.com.cy. She argues why Averof Neofytou is the best person to lead the country, emphasizing that he has a vision and plan for a reunified Cyprus.
Averof is a warrior. We are on an upward trend, and I expect that this will continue.
Why did you want to be one of the figures who endorsed Averof Neofytou's candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic?
I back Averof because I believe in him. I trust him since I am familiar with him. Aside from being the party president, I had the opportunity to work closely with him in the DISY parliamentary group, as a member of the bi-communal Harvard group, and while he was Minister of Communications in the Clerides government. Averof has an analytical mind, is always well-informed on the subject at hand, and has accepted Glafkos Clerides' "patriotic realism," the strategy that led us into the EU. That is, he has the ability to use international conditions to our country's advantage within the constraints of feasibility and a long-term strategy. Above all, he has a vision and a plan for reuniting Cyprus.
You remarked that DISY remaining unified would be the best memorial for your father. Are you disappointed that this does not appear to be the situation at this time?
I'm not sorry since Averof has constantly demonstrated his ability to bring the party together. DISY party members who will vote for Christodoulides are just those who are dissatisfied with the party for personal reasons. The significant majority of DISY party members oppose Nicolas Papadopoulos, Sizopoulos, Eleni Theocharous, and Karoyian being appointed to the next Cabinet. What does a true DISY member have to do with DIKO and EDEK, two parties that have always opposed us? Nikos Christodoulides is the Trojan horse for these parties, allowing them to enter the Presidency. When they arrive, they will ride him for the advantage of their respective groups. His DISY partners will be shunted to the sidelines. I believe the old DISY party members have not forgotten the mud-slinging that all of us have been through.
Were there errors in the announcement of the DISY presidential candidacy that cost them the election?
I don't believe any errors occurred during the nomination process. If Christodoulides was truly a DISY member, he would not have refused to follow party protocol.
Citizens appear to be shifting away from parties; do you believe this is a passing trend or something more permanent?
It is true that citizens are drifting away from political parties. This should cause the parties to pause and reflect on why this is happening. Of course, it's not just a Cypriot phenomenon. In my opinion, the parties must learn to work together rather than compete. All points of view are important and valuable. We must learn to combine different points of view in order to develop the most beneficial answers for the majority of people. Different worldviews/ideologies are not, in my opinion, a bad thing. After all, for a democratic society to function efficiently, organized groups are required.
Can the "tenekka", to use Glafkos Clerides' favorite expression, which Mr. Neofytou frequently invokes, reverse the picture so far, which indicates a predominance of Nikos Christodoulides?
"The tin cup will show," as my father used to say, is a phrase that all Synergists remember. And it certainly is. My father received around 36% of the vote in the 1993 presidential election on the first Sunday, whereas George Vassiliou received 44% and was certain of victory. But, as the late Alexis Galanos warned at the time, "he will run out of gas". As it turned out, my father left the next Sunday.
What message do you want to send to citizens two days before the election?
Averof is a fighter, and we will fight the struggle together with all who support him. We have an ongoing upward trend, which I anticipate will continue. I urge everyone to vote for Averof Neofytou because he has a vision for Cyprus and is the greatest candidate for the post. If Glafkos Clerides were still alive, he would support Averof.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]