The parties and consequently the political life of the place are moving at an absolute pre-election pace, as the ballot papers have more or less been completed and announced by the main contenders for the seats in Parliament. The electoral contest of May 30 is taking place in very special conditions and with data that are not reminiscent of any previous contest. The first element that differentiates the data is the large number of combinations that will claim the vote of the people. The second element has to do with the tendency, as it develops, for candidates to come as independents or with the formation of independents, wanting to show that they are free from any party weights (so far this tendency does not favor the big parties). The third element is that the pre-election is taking place amid important developments in the Cyprus issue (as always, after all), dealing with the pandemic (for a year now with restrictive measures) and amid scandals concerning corruption and entanglement. However, there is a fourth element that may not play a direct role in the developments, but it does form a perspective: the 2023 presidential elections follow, where the opposition parties (AKEL – DIKO – Ecologists, mainly) say that they will seek a change of government at all costs. .
In this context, each party, on the way to the polls, sets its own electoral goals. DISY as the ruling party has to manage a lot of criticism from the opposition parties on a number of issues, while at the same time it hopes that the first party will be kept with a percentage of over 30%. After all, the slogan that has been chosen for the election campaign is not accidental at all, as DISY is going with “The deeds count in difficult times”. In Pindarou they do not even discuss the possibility of falling below the existing 18 seats in Parliament, as such a thing would be negative for future government plans. The polls, so far, present the party of Averof Neophytos as the first party, however with losses that under certain conditions can drop it even below 30%. For its part, AKEL mainly aims to capitalize on government corruption (it does not show an upward trend at least so far) by convincing “its” voters, who may have distanced themselves in previous years or supported another political space in previous parliamentary elections. , to return to the party of the Left. AKEL is running in the parliamentary elections with the slogan “Citizens' Power – Guarantee of Change”. For the Left party, an important electoral goal is to maintain at least the 16 seats it holds in Parliament or even a small increase.
They agree… but disagree
Within the political scene as outlined in the given period, DISY and AKEL should create the feeling and the atmosphere that they are still dominant, defining in some way the dynamics and the agenda of discussion in the public debate. To make this possible, on the one hand, a climate polarization is needed, and on the other, at least one issue that unites the two major parties to some extent, differentiating them from the rest. The polarization stems from corruption scandals, accusations against the President of the Republic and the government, the management of the pandemic, the preservation of basic freedoms, which according to the Left party are threatened during a pandemic, but also from the manipulations of the President Anastasiadis in relation to the Cyprus issue. On the other hand, the issue that seems to unite the two parties to some extent, differentiating them from the rest, has to do with the desired solution to the Cyprus problem and the common perception of Averof Neophytou and Andros Kyprianou that the only solution is the ICC with a policy equality. They also agree that the informal meeting “5 + 1” should be approached with flexibility, determination, unity and clear initiatives from the C / C side. The election may follow the informal Geneva meeting, which is scheduled for April 27-29, but it remains important for the two major parties to reach a total of 60% as the aim is to form a front in both / k as well as on the t / k side (difficult tasks both at the given time), which in case of a referendum on the Cyprus issue to be voted for even marginally.
The key number
Clearly, the aspirations of the two major parties are not limited to the Cyprus issue, as the parliamentary elections have to do with the distribution of seats and which camp will secure the majority in order to be able to control and determine the legislative work. Especially at a time when the main opposition parties (AKEL – DIKO) have set as the highest goal the change of government in 2023. From the data it can be concluded that the key number for both DISY and AKEL is the safeguard through collaborations – alliances 29 of the 56 seats. DISY at the moment does not have at its side the former ally Nikola Papadopoulos (DIKO), which is the third force in seats in Parliament, and this forces Averof Neophytou to seek cooperation with the other parties (which in no case considered solid and given). If we consider the voting for the state budget as indicative, then we are talking about EDEK – Citizens' Alliance (in a joint ballot in the upcoming elections), Cooperation of Democratic Forces – DIPA (joint ballot in the upcoming elections), Solidarity, ELAM. To make the picture clearer in numbers, it is worth mentioning that in the previous parliamentary elections EDEK, Citizens' Alliance and Solidarity secured 3 seats, while ELAM secured 2 seats. The Cooperation of Democratic Forces numbers 3 deputies who were elected in the parliamentary elections with the DIKO ballot and then left.
For its part, AKEL seems to be forming a front of cooperation with the DIKO of Nikolas Papadopoulos and possibly with the Movement of Ecologists – Citizens' Cooperation, which also voted against this state budget. Anna Theologou could join them under certain conditions in case of re-election in the seats of the Parliament, this time with the Movement of Independents – Cooperation KEKK. In the 2016 elections, DIKO secured 9 seats, the Ecologists 2 and Anna Theologou was elected by the Citizens' Alliance and in the process became independent. A portion of AKEL executives are concerned about possible leaks to the Ecologists 'Movement – Citizens' Cooperation, however for the time being in Hezekiah Papaioannou they are very careful in the official approach, both in relation to DIKO and the Ecologists. The balances within the Parliament, however, are expected to differ both in relation to the number of parties that will succeed in entering Parliament (fragmentation of the protest vote) and in relation to the number of seats that each party will secure.
DISY does not even want to think about the possibility of securing 29 seats for the opposition camp, as such a thing – in addition to meaning control over what will pass and what will not from the Parliament – creates at the same time dynamics for the next day, ie the presidential elections. of 2023. A crucial issue for further alliances within Parliament is, of course, the election of the Speaker of Parliament after the parliamentary elections.
In DISY, they are communicative in the logic that they understand that there may have been some mistakes on the part of the government, however they highlight the positives and the argument that in difficult times DISY moved with actions. Although they separate their position to some extent from that of the government, in recent days ministers and government representatives have come forward in an effort to preserve the core of DISY and the government close to the level of aggregation. Also, in the Cyprus issue, intense concern is expressed for the next day and an attempt is made to open up to AKEL in support of the process (indirectly sending a message to the President). There is a portion of DISY voters, especially in urban Nicosia and Famagusta, who are disappointed with the manipulations in the Presidential Palace and it is a bet that the party will restrain possible leaks to other parties but also “Famagusta for Cyprus”. The ruling party hopes that there will be no third wave of pandemics, which will intensify the reactions against the government, and that there will be a moderately positive outcome in “5 + 1”.
In AKEL, on the other hand, they focus a lot on the criticism against the President of the Republic for the issues of corruption, talking about a conflict of interests and the service of specific people from the family circle of Nikos Anastasiadis. At the same time, they refer to the authoritarianism of the government, to the restriction of democratic freedoms, while they supported the marches that took place in the center of Nicosia by various organizations last month and only yesterday participated – they organized another march demanding gender equality. In this way, AKEL attempts to highlight the role of claiming, rallying traditional voters and defending workers' rights. He also wants to get the message across that the incidents involving his executives in scandals are individual and not the rule. However, these incidents at the level of voter perception have hit the Left party. Despite the common ground with DISY in the Cyprus issue, AKEL avoids full identification with the President of the Republic as a portion of voters and party officials categorically disagree with it.
The absolute stake in the parliamentary elections has to do with the camp that will secure the majority of seats, so that it can be managed from a position of power the next day in Parliament. This will be largely judged by whether AKEL and DISY will be able to control the issues that dominate the public debate and the political agenda. The fragmentation of the protest vote into various party formations will play a decisive role. Also crucial for which camp will secure at least 29 seats in Parliament is the number of parties that will eventually enter Parliament and with how many seats. What is certain is that the agenda of the public debate in view of May 30 will not remain the same as the one we have before us today, as developments follow that will be crucial even for the final result.
With the five-party solution leading to a deadlock, there are three scenarios left for the Cyprus issue
Averof Neophytou – Andros Kyprianou: They show the way to the Presidential