People in Cyprus are living in uncertainty. They bear witness to governance that has failed them and excels in improvisation, scandals, and misunderstandings.
The situation has reached unacceptable levels:
The rule of law is lagging systematically.
Appointments of “the best” is tragic.
The economic model for development is not viable.
Moves towards a ‘green’ and the digital era are slow.
Education has no bearings.
Partition is closer than you think.
Cypriots are tired of hearing “promises” that are not kept.
They are weary of seeing their hopes dashed. They want answers and firm steps towards progress.
They are looking for a different approach which, to start with, will restore our country’s credibility.
Fighting corruption, upgrading Cyprus’ image as a serious investment destination, and capitalising on our human resources are necessary prerequisites towards this goal.
An honest government is the starting point that will reverse today’s decline.
An honest government means:
- End the absence of transparency and the lack of accountability—today’s image of mal-management and corruption to be replaced by progress and development for everybody.
- Strengthen public life through rules which are actually being observed. The leaders must lead by example and serve the people. This can be achieved through transparency based on best international practice such as GRECCO, through regulations that will prevent conflict of interest in exercising authority, trustworthy administration, and electability.
- Apply e-government in the state machinery and public services to reduce bureaucracy and fight the lack of transparency,
When it comes to the Cyprus problem, we seem to have got used to stalemates.
We often believe in easy solutions, such as being outraged or filing protests.
However, the right response is to work methodically and with determination to solve the problem.
“Being tough” means we do our homework and prepare well to achieve our objective, not merely lodging protests.
Politics is, in fact, meaningful when problems are solved and peoples’ lives improve.
We all have an additional responsibility so that through our choices, we deliver to the generations to come a free, unified country without occupation armies and, in particular, a European Cyprus.
Cyprus should become a normal state without the baggage of the past.
A solution means to regain the negotiating acquis we have achieved with hard work and apply European Human Rights, as interpreted by the European Court in Strasbourg.
EU-Turkey relations are linked in different ways with Cyprus.
Reviving these relations and making progress in the Cyprus problem go hand in hand.
To achieve a viable solution, we have to align ourselves with European interests.
We have to make the most of our EU membership, fully and in a creative manner, instead of protesting and being at opposite ends.
It is the only way we could attain leverage to use for a comprehensive solution in Cyprus.
We have to promote EU participation in the peace talks and a security mechanism to replace the 1960 system and intervention rights.
Many of our compatriots, refugees, middle-sized businesses, young people, pensioners bear the brunt of repeated crises that the country faces.
Adopting a better economic and social model is feasible.
The state has an important role in this to achieve viable development and increased social justice.
The state has to lay down the rules, to facilitate steady development and secure a sound business environment.
Improving the existing investment climate and strengthening productivity are linked to creating better employment prospects and combatting unemployment.
The state should have an executive role in such an effort; it must oversee a more just distribution of wealth and follow policies to reduce social inequalities.
I believe that many citizens are looking for modern solutions to these problems.
They are watching the challenges the 21st century brings and searching for a different course.
With an honest state to navigate.
With the development and social rights.
With green energy and green policies.
With applications of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
With a solution to the Cyprus problem so that we can have one united, green Cyprus.
All the above, I believe, are the most important challenges of our society.
I am ready to declare my presence in this challenge and present my programme, leading to progressive change.
By the end of the month, I will take a step in this direction.
I will announce the start of consultations with the people, the representatives of the political establishment and society, social partners and various business unions, tertiary educational establishments, local administration, and anybody else who wishes to share their views with me.
First and foremost, I would like to hear them out, listen to what they have to say and afterwards – in the light of this consultation – I will proceed to announce my candidacy for the 2023 presidential elections.
Achilleas Demetriades is a prominent human rights lawyer