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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-12-06

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, December 6, 1997

Kyprianou 'tries to split Disy'

THE NEWS that Diko will back the candidacy of Attorney-general Alecos Markides, if he decides to stand in February's presidential elections, was the lead in all yesterday's papers.

Alithia, as President Clerides's semi-official mouthpiece, accused Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou of trying to split Disy, which is backing Clerides's candidacy, by announcing Diko's backing for Markides. It was clear that by backing Markides, who had been a Disy member until he became attorney-general, and by withdrawing his own candidacy and inviting Disy to back Markides, Kyprianou was attempting to cause a rift in Disy, the paper said.

It insisted that Markides's candidacy was far from certain as he does not want to stand against Clerides. Markides would make another attempt to persuade Clerides to stand down before announcing his decision the paper said, noting that the president had no intention of withdrawing from the contest.

Phileleftheros agreed that Kyprianou had thrown down the gauntlet to Clerides. It also noted Kyprianou's insistence that Diko would not vote for Clerides in the second ballot, while not ruling out that the party might back Akel candidate George Iacovou.

Some differences between Markides and Kyprianou remained. The paper said Kyprianou wanted a say in the handling of the Cyprus problem and in the appointment of ministers, but Markides insisted he would accept no interference in his work.

Haravghi, for obvious reasons, made a big issue of Kyprianou's assertion that Diko would not vote for Clerides in either the first or second round of the elections. It said this left the door open for Diko to back Iacovou if Markides eventually decided not to stand.

Simerini said that the next moves were in Markides's hands. In the next few days he will have contacts with political figures, including members of Disy and other parties, to establish whether his candidacy would be "unifying and consensual", which is his wish, the paper said.

Markides had told Diko he could make no commitment about standing, and expected no commitment from the party, before he completes his contacts. Once he has done this he will make his decision, the paper added.

Machi, which also belongs to the presidential camp, said that ordinary people of the Right were alarmed that Markides and Clerides, two former close associates, might stand against each other and split the vote of the Centre-Right.

Agon gave prominence to a letter to Kyprianou from Diko's deputy leader and former interior minister, Dinos Michaelides, urging him to stand in the presidential elections. This showed that Michaelides opposed the candidacy of Markides, the paper said.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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