A year ahead of presidential elections due in mid-February 2018, DIKO center party said it will embark on a presidential campaign next month, party leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said on Monday.
He said that immediately after an international conference on Cyprus in mid-March he will start an initiative to forge electoral cooperation with other center parties, which are also opposed to a solution being discussed between the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.
His announcement was strongly deplored by both the right-wing ruling DISY party and the main opposition left-wing AKEL party, which accused DIKO of maneuvering to derail the most promising effort up to now to end the four-decade communal dispute in Cyprus.
“Some people care only for their personal and party benefit when other people toil to reunite their country,” said DISY leader Averof Neophytou.
AKEL secretary general Andros Kyprianou made an equally biting comment, saying that DIKO has started an electoral campaign a whole year before elections are due.
“This development will damage the negotiating process. No uncritical behavior and expediency are allowed when the country passes through such crucial times,” he said.
Papadopoulos’ party is opposed to setting up a two-region federation with a loose central government, in which the Turkish Cypriot will have an increased share of power.
He said he will start consultations with other center parties which are also opposed to setting up a bi-communal and bi-zonal federal state in Cyprus.
Seven center parties and a small extreme right-wing party which also opposes a federal solution, command about 27 percent of the electorate and muster 22 votes in the 56-member parliament,
DISY gained 30.67 percent in parliamentary election last May winning 18 seats in parliament, with AKEL garnering 25.65 per cent in the elections and 16 seats in parliament.
Despite diametrically opposing political and economic philosophies, the two parties share almost identical views on a Cyprus solution.
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