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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-12-24

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, December 24, 1997

From 'triumph' to 'shame'

DIKO'S decision to join Akel in backing independent candidate George Iacovou for president was the main story in all of yesterday's newspapers. Headlines varied from a triumphant "Diko with Iacovou: victory from the first round" in Haravghi to "Kyprianou imposed Iacovou - decision of shame" in Machi.

Phileleftheros says Diko had decided to back Iacovou after he and Diko president Spyros Kyprianou agreed on a document which, among other things, provides for Kyprianou's direct involvement in the handling of the Cyprus issue and notes that the joint defence dogma with Greece will continue.

Although no details were released on what power-sharing agreement was reached, Phileleftheros notes that Diko members were told their participation in the cabinet would not be "inferior" to that in the Disy government - which leaves open the possibility Diko may have more than five ministers. In a related story, Phileleftheros runs quotes from George Iacovou and Akel general secretary Demetris Christofias, who argue that Iacovou would now probably be elected in the first round of voting.

Simerini says that Diko and Akel had reached agreement on a pact to elect George Iacovou president, despite opposition from Sek and some Diko officials. It says that in view of this development, former Diko deputy president Alexis Galanos has also decided to contest the presidency. Simerini notes that both Iacovou and Kyprianou had said they had not discussed how ministerial posts will be divided, although both conceded that Diko "will get more" than what it had with Disy. Kyprianou justified his party's decision to go with Iacovou - even though in the past it had said it would not back him - by saying he preferred to trust a technocrat than a politician who does not keep his word. Kyprianou also said that at a recent, secret meeting with President Clerides, the latter had proposed that Kyprianou be elected president in two years' time in return for Diko backing Clerides.

Alithia says that Kyprianou had rejected a secret vote in the central committee and pushed through a majority decision in the Central Committee in support of Iacovou. The paper says Kyprianou had acted solely out of personal motives in order to take revenge on Clerides for deciding to seek a second term.

Machi also takes a strong line against Kyprianou. It says the Diko president had forced Iacovou on his party. Describing the decision as suicidal, it says it will lead to a rift in Diko. According to Machi, Kyprianou was promised seven ministries - including the foreign ministry for his son Markos and a say in the handling of the Cyprus problem.

Agon is also critical. It too says Kyprianou had forced Iacovou on to his party and tied it to Akel, even though it was uncertain whether Diko members would rally to the cause.

Haravghi takes a completely different view. It says that Diko's decision meant Iacovou would be elected in the first round. It quotes Kyprianou as saying that after the commitments made by Iacovou, his election programme was better than other candidates. "Iacovou may be a technocrat but he has the capabilities and we will stand next to him in co- operation with Akel to offer a better policy for this country," Haravghi quoted Kyprianou as saying.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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