The former ruling party, Democratic Rally, is once again going to the polls this weekend to elect the highest officers of its party leadership, as well as the executive council members.
After the humiliating defeat during the presidential elections, when the party’s then leader Averof Neophytou insisted on his own candidacy and lost, with former Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides winning the race, all party ranks realised that they had a substantial issue to resolve – are they in opposition or a ruling party.
New leader Annita Demetriou finally settled that argument, saying DISY would be a ‘responsible opposition’, in an effort to heal the wounds of division and move on. But frustration continues to rule.
All the candidates for the posts of Deputy President, the three vice presidents and members of the executive, seem to have one thing in common – they remain out of touch with the party membership.
The arrogance with which candidates have been campaigning, sending out text messages by the bucketload, as if nothing had happened, shows the lack of seriousness, and possibly DISY’s absence from serious decision making in the future.
Suddenly, everyone has an opinion and blames DISY’s failure on its former leader, ignoring the fact that former President Nicos Anastasiades undermined his own party leader, as he would have preferred his protégé, Christodoulides, at the Presidential Palace.
Criticism has started coming out of the woodwork, especially from leading party figures who had a say, but preferred to remain silent over the past decade, allowing the few to roam freely, going overboard with the ‘golden passports’ scam that continue to haunt the country, demolishing its image as a reliable business centre.
The lack of progress in the Cyprus talks, allowing Turkey to pull out and go about with it’s own agenda, was also a failure of the previous administration, in which DISY and its political elite had a major say.
Simply declaring that the party will set up its own shadow cabinet is no sure-fire solution that the leadership has learnt from the mistakes of the past. They first need to apologise to their own members and then talk about turning a page.
But judging from the comments of many, the past decade was regarded as a ‘golden period’ for Cyprus, with growth and stability. However, a small nucleus of people were the ones who benefited most, as the middle class has been wiped out and small businesses have diminished.
These are the people the new DISY leadership should turn to. Otherwise, their course will remain out of context and far from reality.