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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-12-18

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, December 18, 1997

Charm offensives aimed at Diko

AFTER the announcement that Attorney-general Alecos Markides would not be a presidential candidate, all the papers concentrated their attention on what Diko - the party that was to back him - would be doing in the elections.

Simerini said that Diko had three options. First, party leader Spyros Kyprianou, who had not withdrawn his candidacy, could stand as originally planned. Second, Diko could back the Akel candidate George Iacovou, although such a move would be opposed by party officials. Third, Diko could back one of its own members as a candidate; Alexis Galanos was a possibility, the paper said.

Phileleftheros noted that Markides' decision signalled the start of an new "friendship offensive" towards Diko by the backers of President Clerides (Disy) and those of Iacovou (Akel).

Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades had already asked Kyprianou for a meeting, while Akel spokesman, Nicos Katsourides had said that, if Diko was interested in co-operating, his party was ready for negotiations. Iacovou went a step further, saying that he was ready to make changes to his election manifesto if Diko made such a demand.

Alithia was optimistic about the possibility of Diko eventually backing Clerides, citing the following: after Markides' announcement, Diko officials avoided saying that the party would back Iacovou from the first round, as they had done in the past. Kyprianou on the other hand, had avoided his oft-repeated assertion that Diko would never vote for Clerides again.

This was not unrelated to the efforts being made by Diko members as well as by influential businessmen to get the Disy-Diko alliance back on the track. The national interest made the revival of the alliance an imperative, the paper said.

Haravghi reported remarks by Katsourides about the prospects of an Akel alliance with Diko. Akel had made no new proposals to Diko, he said, but in the months of contacts between the two parties, Iacovou's positions had been discussed.

Katsourides said that Iacovou's election positions could very easily be adopted by Diko. However, the distribution of ministries in the event of an alliance had not been discussed.

Machi said that the backing of Iacovou by Diko was far from likely. The party appeared set to back former deputy president of the House Galanos, who had the support of leading members, including Kyprianou's.

Agon reported the findings of a new statistical study which claimed that "there are no poor in Cyprus". It said that four per cent of the poor had incomes below the poverty line.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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