President Nicos Anastasiades came to power a year ago and from day one was forced to jump into the deep end of the pool, forced to swim with the international sharks and the local piranhas. He was caught off guard by the horrible state of the economy and has yet to point the finger at the top civil servants who duped him into believing that things were not as bad as came out to be.
Twelve months ago this week, Eurogroup I knocked on our door. Our dickhead parliamentarians thought they could stand up to the behemoth of the European economic giants, and as a punishment to our stupidity, we were landed with Eurogroup II. And we all know how that story went…
The president then had to face an uncooperative central bank governor who took his orders from Frankfurt central and had his hands tied, some might say, due to the demise of the economy and arduous task of getting out of this mess, unfortunately through a package of harsh austerity measures imposed by the Troika.
On the political front, Anastasiades has once again been facing an uphill battle, more so on the local front than overseas, reminiscent of the days almost a decade ago, when he opposed the sure bet of a ‘No’ vote and decided to go against the flow. Perhaps, he was following in the footsteps of his mentor, Glafcos Clerides, but at least he should be credited for taking the bold move in those troublesome days.
In time, accusations of ‘unpatriotic’ betrayal have fizzled out and economic need has replaced political need. People are less reluctant nowadays to discuss a solution to the Cyprus problem, even though we all know that it doesn’t differ much from the ‘satanic’ Annan plan, naturally with some improvements. But at least now we have some more political weapons in our arsenal, such as the future potential of oil and gas, which western Europeans dare not openly support for fear of upsetting Turkey, allegedly the only factor of stability in the region.
President Anastasiades now has an economy in the able hands of his confidante, Haris Georgiades. The central bank governor is leaving, replaced by a hard-talking Chrystalla Yiorkadji. And his fragile coalition with the naysayer Diko has been dissolved, thanks to the junior party’s short-sightedness to leave government at the most crucial time of recent history.
Now that things are going his way, perhaps it’s about time that the president stopped lending an ear to all sorts of interest groups who keep on knocking on the doors of the Presidential Palace. And once he’s at it, he should also tell his own Democratic Rally fellows to get their act together. They seem to be as disorganised as never before, with rumours rife of corruption at all levels, ironically, what they used to accuse the former communist regime of doing the previous five years.
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