DIKO backs ex-foreign minister for president

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Centre-right DIKO has decided to back former Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides for the 2023 presidential elections, arguing he can usher in the progressive change Cyprus needs.

DIKO cast its vote for Christodoulides’ manifesto, arguing it has 18 points that are in full agreement with the party.

DIKO delivered its ruling on Monday, as the party’s central committee voted in favour with 132 votes and only one abstention – Larnaca MP Christos Orphanides.

In comments to CyBC, the party’s leader Nicolas Papadopoulos argued that Christodoulides’ bid for the presidency is different, an independent candidate that unites and does not divide or serve party agendas.

Papadopoulos said that Christodoulides, despite his affiliation with ruling DISY, is not the candidate groomed to be President Nicos Anastasiades’ successor.

That role has been given to DISY leader Averof Neophytou, Papadopoulos said.

“Christodoulides is not the candidate hiding under every stone you turn. Christodoulides is the candidate that can fight corruption”.

Papadopoulos also acknowledged that Diko had had disagreements with Christodoulides in the past on key issues when he was part of the government.

But, he stressed that they are ready to put aside past disagreements and focus on the future.

Christodoulides served as Former Minister under Anastasiades between 2018 and 2022.

Before that, he served as government spokesman between 2013 and 2018.

He is still a member of DISY but is running as an independent candidate.

Averof Neophytou is the president of ruling DISY and enjoys the backing of President Anastasiades.

Meanwhile, another rival candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis enjoys the backing of the main opposition party AKEL.

Mavroyiannis is a former ambassador, also serving as negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side in the Cyprus talks under President Anastasiades and former Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN.

Also running is Achilleas Demetriades, a well-known human rights lawyer focusing on a solution to the Cyprus problem.

According to an opinion poll in May by Sigma TV, Christodoulides leads, with 37%, and the second was DISY’s Neophytou, with 19%.

Mavroyiannis appealed to 14% of participants, followed by lawyer Achilleas Demetriades with 8%.