Newly-elected Ayia Napa mayor says he will stay the course in the fight to keep the resort town autonomous, while pushing for reform.
Christos Zannetou, who was backed by conservative ruling party Disy as well as Diko, Dipa, Animal Party Cyprus, won the mayoral election on Sunday after beating his opponent Emilia Evangelou-Xydia, who was backed by left opposition Akel party as well as Citizens Alliance and Solidarity Movement.
Zannetou, who was serving as deputy mayor, won the election with 59% after getting 1508 votes. His opponent received 1059 votes after 2600 voters or 78% of the electorate cast their ballot.
“It is a great honour for me to lead the Ayia Napa municipality. With strength based on experience, we proceed to push Ayia Napa forward,” Zannetou wrote on Facebook.
Ayia Napa has also been resisting plans to join Paralimni as a new incorporated town under proposed government plans
The election came at a critical time for Ayia Napa, as the resort town was recently the focus of global attention following the rape case, where a 19-year-old British teen was found guilty for lying to police about being raped by Israeli teens.
The alleged incident took place in a hotel room in Ayia Napa last July while a Paralimni judge handed down three years probation with a suspended four-month jail sentence to the rape accuser for causing public mischief. She is appealing the conviction and insists she was mistreated by police who forced her to retract the allegations.
Ayia Napa has also been resisting plans to join Paralimni as a new incorporated town under proposed government plans.
Napa draws the line at joining Paralimni
The new mayor campaigned on the promise he would fight for Ayia Napa’s autonomy while adding he would be okay with joining Sotira and Liopetri but not Paralimni.
“My position on the reform bill is crystal clear and is the position backed unanimously by the city council, which is our aim for an autonomous municipality,” Zannetou said.
“But if our goal cannot be achieved, then we move forward with demanding incorporation of Sotira municipality and the community of Liopetri,” the new mayor added.
Zannetou said the local communities support his position and added that Ayia Napa would use all legal means at their disposal to achieve their goal.
Former mayor Yiannos Karousos, who also vehemently opposed the plans, was appointed transport minister in a recent cabinet reshuffle.
Zannetou reportedly called on Evangelou-Xydia to join forces ahead of the new reform challenges using her role as a city councilor.
The new mayor said his main focus would be on development works and local administration reforms.