EDEK, officially at least, has not been involved in any process in view of the presidential elections, and this is due to the liquidity of the pre-election scenario, as its president says. In the following interview, Mr. Sizopoulos states that his party is not going to ratify pre-emptive decisions, asks for co-decisions, turns against those who “try to set up games against EDEK”, as he says, does not rule out an autonomous descent, although he does not is the first choice. With whom EDEK is closer and with whom farther away and how the internal party introversion affects the Movement, are issues that we raised with Mr. Sizopoulos.
March is approaching, but EDEK did not start any process for the presidency with other parties and candidates, while in front of it is the pan-Cypriot gathering of executives and friends. You are asking for co-decisions for the presidency, but you remain inactive. Isn't there a risk of being left out as a bride?
It is a fact that EDEK has not yet been involved in processes with other parties and candidates regarding the upcoming presidential elections. However, I would like to remind you that over time, EDEK is involved in processes and final decisions in the period between April and June of the year preceding the presidential elections. The fact that other parties or even interested candidates started the processes early, does not mean that EDEK will fully adapt to their choices. She will follow her own design. The fluidity of the pre-election scene requires waiting, patience and careful handling, especially when its final configuration does not depend exclusively on the decisions or actions of EDEK. That is why it is very important that, before any initiatives are taken, party members express their views in a democratic and free way and contribute to the final decisions. The party leadership has launched a series of provincial open rallies with the sole theme of the upcoming presidential election. The cycle will end with a pan-Cypriot political gathering, which will give the leadership specific directions. No matter how much some people try, each for their own reasons, to leave EDEK out of wedlock, they will not succeed. EDEK will play a key role.
Nobody says that others will decide for you. However, why should your internal party problems affect any future candidate and potentially your choice?
Any internal party problems, which were caused to serve personal and not only expediencies, are not going to affect our decisions. As you will have already seen, they have not affected the functioning of the party, on the contrary they have gathered even more members and friends. This is confirmed both by their participation in the provincial election conferences and the extraordinary Pancyprian Congress, as well as by the open provincial rallies that took place. Any future candidate who believes that our internal party issues can affect him, has the right to exclude EDEK from any cooperation. Our potential choice, and you will find out soon, is not going to affect it.
Do your intra-party pending issues and frictions not adversely affect the course of EDEK towards the elections?
The intra-party pending issues will be overcome, but otherwise, we have worked out alternative scenarios, which will be launched depending on the developments. I will emphasize it once again, those who try to set up games against EDEK, in the end will find that they themselves will be victims of their games. This has been confirmed in the recent past. We have confidence in our capabilities. We do not overestimate them, but we also do not underestimate them.
What will determine your decision for the candidate for President of the Republic? Prioritize your criteria.
As we have publicly announced, EDEK is ready to proceed with meetings with both parties and interested candidates. To listen to their views and submit hers. EDEK is not going to cooperate simply to ratify pre-existing decisions. Any party and/or candidate interested in cooperating with EDEK must exchange views with the party leadership before announcing the program or candidacy. Of course, there is pre-exclusion of parties and candidates due to positions, but also ideological position, such as e.g. the ELAM. But this does not mean that if we are asked to meet by any party or candidate we will refuse. Before discussing the names, the political framework for cooperation must be agreed. In addition to the Cyprus issue, this includes vital areas of internal governance, such as economic and social policy, health, immigration, and corruption. The aim is to record convergences and discrepancies, so that there are objective data that will determine the final decision.
It is a fact that with DIKO you have the most convergences. DIKO, however, also looks to AKEL, turns a blind eye to Nikos Christodoulidis, there is already a candidate with converging positions and it is George Kolokasidis, while his relationship is known, in Parliament in particular, with DISY and Averoff Neophytou. Doesn't that make it difficult for you to communicate?
It is a fact that there are the most convergences with DIKO and it is also the party with which there were the most collaborations in the presidential elections. This does not mean that in any way we will deprive DIKO of the right to determine its position on any collaborations it would like to conclude. At the same time, however, EDEK reserves the right to determine its own position, if and to what extent it will be drafted with the cooperation decided by DIKO.
As a party, you classify yourself in the opposition. However, so far, at least, you have not ruled out DISY from a possible collaboration. Why;
EDEK does not classify itself in the opposition. It is the only pure opposition party and it proved it with its stance on all important issues that occupied society. Unlike other parties which had full or almost complete alliance with the DISY governments. Specifically, in the Cyprus issue they have full or almost complete identification, in the Stock Exchange they had investment companies, in the banking scandal they showed silence and/or concealment, they agreed to cut deposits, they voted the Memorandum, the sales, the suspension of the Special Court Borrowers who disagree with the sales or over-indebtedness of the banks should resort to the supposed reform of the Public Service, they largely agree with the reform of the Local Government that will eventually lead to deregulation. They collaborated for the implementation of the GESS in violation of the legislation, contributing to the squandering of citizens' contributions and endangering its viability. Regarding possible cooperation with DISY, EDEK clarified that it will not enter into any cooperation to ratify pre-determined decisions for the candidate and his program.
Do you completely rule out an autonomous descent?
Of course in the case where there is no political convergence, and therefore cooperation, autonomous descent is a clear choice that can not be ruled out. However, evaluating the data, autonomous descent is not the first option. It has advantages and disadvantages, both positive and negative. All data, all options, must be carefully analyzed before a final decision is made. Unfortunately, there is no option that has only advantages.
“EDEK's clean positions bother”
Never before has introversion hit the red in EDEK as much as in your presidency. What is wrong with Mr. Sizopoulos? Is it always everyone else's fault?
This is a matter of appreciation. Compared to where EDEK was in 2014, the results that followed, confirm the exact opposite. In the parliamentary elections of 2016, everyone was waiting for EDEK to be crushed and to be the 6th or even the 7th party. They were refuted. In the European elections of 2019, everyone expected that EDEK would not elect an MEP. They were refuted. In the parliamentary elections of 2021, they made every possible, legitimate and illegitimate, effort to reduce the percentages. Eventually the so-called traditional parties were the only ones that had an increase. It is a fact that the aggression against EDEK has intensified by various circles. But let's wonder why. The answer is simple. The clear positions of EDEK and the undeniable documentation are annoying. It bothers her because she is not manipulated and her tactics are unpredictable. So far, he has not attacked or undermined anyone. He faces the attacks he receives calmly and soberly. But these strengthen us and satisfy us much more. To accept all these attacks and sabotages means that they count on us. EDEK will continue to fight with purity and openness for our country and to support our compatriots who have a real need for social and economic protection, even if it bothers some.