Many people cheered when Nicos Anastasiades begged his supporters to back DISY President Averof Neofytou in the upcoming elections a few days ago. On the one hand, because the President was taking a clear stance on who he was supporting in this electoral battle, and on the other because they believed it would bring back DISY party voters who seemed to have lost support for the party. At the same time, when the President of the Republic assured "those who love him" and those calling for his re-election that his term would be extended through Averof Neofytou, there were a few members who looked at each other in embarrassment. Not so much due to the exaggerated statements of a man who, up until recently, was allegedly treading on two boats and thus two candidates, but rather because Neofytou's candidacy suffered due to the extension of his term in office. Additionally, they undermined for many the narrative of change, advancement, and any form of self-criticism that Pindarou wished to project in relation to the major corruption chapter and the handling of the Cyprus issue. Therefore, does Anastasiades' participation in the election process advance or create conflict?
Averof Neofytos and his team's main goal is to rally the DISY party through to the first Sunday. The small influx of voters from other political parties sent a message to Pindarou that rallying DISY is the only way for the Synergy President to advance to the second round. And this is currently being judged so low for the first time. This is why the hard partisan rhetoric, appeals to party patriotism, and references to DISY leaders are increasing. This is why Nicos Anastasiades' presence is regarded as especially valuable. The President of the Republic is still regarded as the leader of the ruling party. Despite the fact that Averof Neofytou has managed to improve his poor relationship with a portion of the alarmed DISY party base in recent months, and above all, to assemble a very trustworthy circle of second- and third-rate cadres around him, Nicos Anastasiades still controls the party and, in particular, voters on the popular right. If we consider what is going on in and around the Agonists' League, this audience overwhelmingly supports Nicos Christodoulides. Nicos Anastasiades may be able to influence a portion of this pool by making a clear statement of support for Averof Neofytou. At the same time, even if post-dated, he can activate the party patriotism of DISY party voters who are being persuaded in the final days before the elections while damaging the DISY vote in favor of Nicos Christodoulides. Until now, many DISY'ists believed that whether Nikos Christodoulides or Averof Neofytou was elected, DISY would be in power. Nikos Christodoulides' constant references to the fact that DISY should be present in the next government helped to reinforce this belief. The separation of Nikos Anastasiades from his political offspring may eventually benefit Neofytou's election campaign and the DISY party members.
The person who is still regarded as the head of the ruling party is the President of the Republic.
The question is whether this involvement has any bearing on Averof Neofytou's candidacy. During his 10-year tenure, Nicos Anastasiades has faced widespread criticism for both his handling of the Cyprus problem and the corruption scandals that have rocked the country. The report that his governance will be continued, and in fact the same policies will be implemented, excludes another pool of voters who either do not belong to DISY or belonged but distanced themselves due to his governance scandals. As a result, while it may benefit DISY in the short term, Anastasiades' statement "I will continue with Averof Neofytou" will surely alienate those voters who believe that Averof Neofytou will take a different approach to the Cyprus problem or that he will fight corruption. Either in the first round or if Averof Neofytou receives a ticket to the second round.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]