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21 June, 2024
 
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Pelekanos stirs debate with rejection of bi-zonal federation

Former DISY Vice President's comments spark controversy ahead of elections

Marina Economides

Marina Economides

Marios Pelekanos's recent revelation in the Legalmatters podcast that he opposes the Bi-zonal Bicommunal Federation (BBF) as a form of solution for Cyprus, instead supporting a unitary state, has ignited significant debate. The comments have drawn attention not only to the substantive stance of a former state official but also to the contentious manner in which the statement was made.

Pelekanos, until recently a prominent figure within the Democratic Rally (DISY) party – which advocates for the BBF – and a representative of a President working towards a solution within the BBF framework, now finds his political credibility in question. Whether this contradiction in his words and political actions will cost him remains to be seen. However, the larger question is whether DISY will benefit or suffer from the statements of its former member, who is now seen as an embodiment of political duplicity.

Pelekanos’s timing is noteworthy, coming just before the elections. It is well-known that ELAM voters largely reject the BBF, which explains why Pelekanos wanted to clarify his position now. Voting for ELAM, however, is also widely seen as a protest vote against the political establishment. This sentiment is reflected in a poll conducted for "K" by Symmetron Market Research, which shows that ELAM's press spokesman Geadis Geadis, a staunch party loyalist, is ranked first, followed by Pelekanos, despite his former association with the Anastasiades administration. This indicates that the far-right electorate prefers a hardline stance and rejects connections to the political and economic system.

Late Disagreement

Pelekanos's main aim appears to be attracting disillusioned DISY voters unhappy with the party's recent political strategies. However, his major blunder is that he remained in DISY despite purported political disagreements and only resigned from the vice presidency when he failed to secure a candidacy for the European Parliament. DISY's subsequent labeling of his departure as adventurism has furthered the perception that his resignation was more about personal ambition than political principles.

This has led to two interpretations:
- Pelekanos, despite disagreeing with his President on a crucial issue, tolerated it to maintain his position.
- Pelekanos's recent renunciation of the BBF was a strategic move to align himself with ELAM's candidacy.

DISY’s Internal Struggle

Despite DISY's immediate dismissal of Pelekanos's actions as adventurism, questions arise about why he was able to ascend so politically within the party. His controversial views on immigration, including hosting xenophobic speakers and spreading false information, were known but seemingly tolerated, if not rewarded, by DISY. This included his ticket voting with Harris Georgiades in the 2016 parliamentary elections and his selection by Averof Neophytou and Nicos Anastasiades as a government representative.

Pelekanos’s departure provides DISY with an opportunity to clarify its ideological stance. However, the party’s core values are now in jeopardy. Today, DISY’s positions on several issues closely mirror those of ELAM, blurring the lines between the two parties. This is not limited to strong anti-AKEL sentiments or immigration policies, but also recent statements by DISY’s deputy president Efthymios Diplaros, who affirmed that his party would not include Turkish Cypriots on its ballot, aligning with ELAM’s rhetoric.

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Cyprus  |  politics  |  elections

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