CYPRUS EDITORIAL: Can Christofias stick to his morals?

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First year in office

Demetris Christofias is not a lucky man. He has just completed his first year in office and faces more challenges than any other President before him, with prospects for a political solution seeming as distant as when he was elected and the economy heading for a freefall, not of his own doing.
However, Christofias has cashed in on this handicap saying that he inherited much more than what he bargained for and seems determined to show that he is the underdog ready to overcome the high odds that punters attach to this presidency.
He has stood his ground on the national issue and insists on showing a good face in the peace talks, even though he refuses to accept that Mehmet Ali Talat does not waver an inch beyond the orders received from Ankara. Christofias, with disappointment clearly written on his face, is still a romantic who hopes to negotiate a fair settlement with the Turkish Cypriots some day, relying on his past brothers-in-arms relationship with a counterpart who also hails from a workers’ party background.
Despite his initial efforts to dispel fears that he would rule Cyprus as a ‘Red President’, Christofias has used every opportunity to bash the capitalist system of the West as the cause of all evil, and in particular of the global financial turmoil we are currently living in.
In a recent press briefing, the president even took it upon himself to fly the moral flag and was adamant against any plan to start a casino, saying that gambling is a social ill that must be overcome if society (and the working class) is ever to recover, despite all the arguments in favour of injecting new standards and fresh capital into the island’s wounded tourism sector.
Christofias is equally adamant on issues of de-nationalisation, insisting on his principles of maintaining state assets that would safeguard and benefit the employees, as well as inject revenues into the public purse. So, privatisation is off the agenda.
In his pre- and post-election speeches, he has made generous pledges towards diversity, culture, education and the sciences, always keeping an anthropocentric approach to all his policy decisions.
Though we may disagree on issues of principle, this administration deserves every opportunity to make things work, as long as everybody benefits, primarily the “Made in Cyprus” brand.
Let us hope that under pressure from corrupt interests, Christofias will not write off his declared principles of the past and will stick to the moral high ground he has preached us all these years. Otherwise, how will he ever look every one of us in the eyes and say he is the “president of all Cypriots”?