A surprise candidate?
While some people still dream of success in the long-dead Cyprus intercommunal talks, Greek Cypriots are buried deep in the “Who will be candidates for the February presidential poll?” question.
Any candidate who wishes to get elected as the Greek Cypriot president must manage to get the support of the top three political parties as well as the backing of a coalition of smaller and often adventurist parties.
What about the Church of Cyprus? Well, compared to the good old times when Archbishop Makarios was the king of the church, it does not enjoy immense power nowadays. Yet, to get elected, the support of the Church of Cyprus is of great value.
Can the incumbent Nikos Anastasiades be elected for a second term? Unfortunately. The Cyprus talks are deadlocked and there appears to be no prospect for revival. On the contrary, both on the island and in the international community, it is now recognized that his presidency was remarkable in regards to proving that a federal settlement cannot be achieved. Both sides’ leaders, both saluted for being pro-settlement and pro-federation, achieved something their predecessors could not over the past half century: they brought the Cyprus federation talks to an awful end.
Two Cypriot states in the European Union would in fact mean a federal, perhaps confederal resolution, which would not have the shortcomings a federation might face; but so far it has been obstructed from being created as a federal state.
With a grand deal between the two Cypriot states, Turkish Cypriots compromising on territory, offering appealing compensation schemes to Greek Cypriots for property they left in northern Cyprus in 1974-1975, and the Greek Cypriots agreeing to two states with an EU formula, the island might indeed not only be united but provided a lasting peace prospect. If border will be just a virtual one, everyone will have the freedom of movement, settlement, investment and of owning property – the so-called four freedoms – the two states in the EU might open the possibility of the two people of the island to start a rapprochement process by getting to rediscover each other. Since April 23, 2003, travel through the dividing line into the territory of the other has been possible, but most Greek Cypriots travel to the north to gamble in casinos in the evening hours with little contact with their Turkish Cypriot neighbors. Furthermore, strict customs regulations are in force for the Greek Cypriots, their government doesn’t allow them to even buy a packet of cigarettes from the north.
Now a leader is needed in the southern Greek Cypriot territory, one who would have a strong political support to steer the talks out from the impasse to some bold and courageous decisions.
Despite the sensational news coming out almost on a daily basis now with names and figures parading in front of AKEL party’s boss vying for their blessing to be fielded their presidential candidate in the upcoming presidential elections in February 2018. AKEL’s cunning leader Andros Kyprianou has also been talking about a secret trump card up their sleeves aside from all the newspaper stories and candidates.
It is said that the top figure of the AKEL leadership has been looking for a known politician from the political spectrum’s center satisfying the following criteria: a) Political party stance: center; b) Long and proven experience in the Cyprus problem; c) Someone with long and proven experience in economic policy and management; d) Someone who so far has proved to be incorruptible, with a clear record; e) A name with vast and documented network of contacts globally; f) A respected personality able to attract voters from all over the part spectrum.
The above listed criteria imply that there is only very few politicians in Greek Cyprus and one such person stands out, indeed the long-time top diplomat for the Greek Cypriots: George Iacovou. In addition to the above, Iacovou also possesses another vast advantage not found in the other candidates, i.e. good stance in the Turkish Cypriot political establishment and much higher levels of trust toward him than any other candidate!
Up to this date, all candidates being fielded really have done nothing new to offer, i.e. Anastasiades, DIKO’s Nikolas Papadopoulos and the likely candidate by AKEL, former Coca Cola manager Mike Spanos, whose political credentials are virtually non-existent. Iacovou is 78 years of age, completely healthy and still brims with energy when discussing the Cyprus problem in all its facets and angles. His age reflects the long, hard-earned experience in dealing with the Cyprus problem over the last 45 years. Furthermore, he held managerial positions in large organizations both in the U.K. and in Cyprus.
He really does portray the most experienced, trusted, incorruptible and ablest political manager Cyprus needs right now to move forward as the next president.