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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-12-25

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, December 25, 1997

Personal attacks dominate

WITH EXCHANGES between rival camps in the presidential elections becoming nastier and personal attacks dominating, the newspapers are appearing much more partisan.

Three of them - Alithia, Machi and Agon - are openly backing President Clerides, yesterday giving prominence to his three-page statement. Haravghi is, inevitably, behind George Iacovou, while Simerini and Phileleftheros seem to be more impartial.

Phileleftheros reported "confrontations on all fronts", saying all the parties and candidates were involved in "an intense exchange of fire" sparked by Diko's decision to back the candidacy of Iacovou.

The main conflict was between the former government partners Diko and Disy. It quoted Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades, accusing Diko chief Spyros Kyprianou of leaving the alliance in pursuit of "family interests", after rumours suggested that Kyprianou's son Markos would be made foreign minister in a Iacovou government.

Markos issued a statement later saying that Anastassiades had offered him the foreign ministry as an incentive for Diko to back Clerides' candidacy.

Alithia fully endorsed Clerides' view that the national problem would be at its most critical stage after the elections and needed to be handled by an experienced politician. It reminded readers that Kyprianou, on more than one occasion, had praised Clerides' handling of the national problem.

Machi led with extracts from Clerides' statement, highlighting the dangers to the EU accession course, the unified defence dogma and the national problem if the government's strategy changed, with the election of a new president. Mistaken handling could be made, it said.

Agon said the president had abandoned his policy of not getting involved in the electoral exchanges with his statement responding to Kyprianou, about the achievements of his government.

Haravghi reported Akel leader Demetris Christofias' response to Clerides' statement. He said that Clerides' handling of all the above issues had caused more problems than they had solved, and that Iacovou's government would act collectively.

As a result, he called on Edek and the United Democrats to back the candidacy of Iacovou so that a more representative government, that could shoulder responsibility for all the critical developments, could be formed.

Simerini said that former president of the House, Alexis Galanos, would be a candidate in order to give Diko supporters, who did not want to vote for Iacovou, a choice. Galanos disagreed with Diko's decision to back Iacovou, although this did not mean he supported Clerides. Meanwhile, Kyprianou said that Galanos' decision had excluded him from Diko.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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