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

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, December 12, 1997

Markides keeps confusion alive

THE ELECTION plans of Attorney-general Alecos Markides continued to receive extensive front-page coverage, especially after the statement he made on Wednesday. While the previous day most papers had said that Markides would not be a presidential candidate, they embraced the opposite view after his statement.

Simerini was content to say that the issue of Markides' candidacy remained open. With his statement, in which he said he was not interested in leading a Disy-Diko alliance, Markides had tried to underline the independent nature of his candidacy, it said.

He had proposed the setting up of a national unity government and the handing over of power by the politicians of the 'sixties to the younger generation. The paper said that the idea of a unity government was "killed in record time" by the Party leaders; only Diko and New Horizons supported his unity call.

Phileleftheros said that Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou would make efforts to promote the idea of a national unity government. It said that none of the other parties were prepared to even discuss this idea.

It quoted the Akel leader as saying that, in theory, he supported a unity government but conditions for its establishment did not exist. Edek had already taken its decisions about the elections as had the United Democrats and neither was interested in taking part in new discussions, the paper reported.

Alithia reported that Markides with his ambiguous statement had once again ensured that confusion would continue to cloud the election landscape. Diko, which was on the verge of announcing its support for Akel candidate George Iacovou, fearing Markides would not stand, would now have to wait for his final decision.

The paper also accused Diko of resorting to "malicious methods" reminiscent of a bygone era in an attempt to undermine President Clerides and Disy and to strengthen opposition towards them. The orchestrators of this propaganda were leading Diko officials and "left-leaning media". It was referring to reports that former Disy leader Yiannakis Matsis had received death threats, aimed at preventing him from backing Markides.

Haravghi, which had carried the report about the alleged death threats to members of Matsis' family, yesterday alleged that in the last few days Markides had also been on the receiving end of threats against his life.

Despite these threats, which the paper could not back with evidence, Markides had made up his mind to stand and would announce his decision on Monday, it said.

Machi, under the headline, "Propaganda in the air", alleged that Akel leader Demetris Christofias, during a flight to Athens, had told the pilots that, if elected, Clerides would close down Cyprus Airways leaving 2,000 staff and their families on the streets. If Iacovou was elected, the national carrier would be financially strengthened, Christofias was reported as saying.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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