Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lillikas plays Annan card, but it still won’t be enough


Above is a short video of Nikos Lygeros speaking in Cyprus on the importance of Greece and Cyprus delineating contiguous Exclusive Economic Zones and stressing how the Annan plan was precisely designed to diminish Cyprus’ sovereignty in order to prevent it controlling the exploitation of its hydrocarbon resources. 

Lygeros remarks can be interpreted as support for Giorgos Lillikas (former foreign minister under Tassos Papadopoulos) who is making quite a lot of the fact that of the three main candidates for president – the other two are AKEL-backed Stavros Malas and the centre-right’s Nikos Anastasiades – he is the only one who voted against Annan in 2004. 

Depicting Anastasiades and Malas as the Annan plan candidates is a strong card for Lillikas and, it seems, he is picking up enough support from Tassos Papadopoulos loyalists to challenge Malas for second place and be the person to face Anastasiades in any run off. (Currently, polls indicate that Anastasiades will not get close to the 50 percent support he needs to win in the first round of voting). 

I still find it hard to believe that anyone other than Anastasiades will become Cyprus’ next president and, in fact, the only scenario in which he loses is if Lillikas finishes second after round one and, then, somehow, AKEL decides to throw all its weight behind Lillikas in round two. AKEL would do this in order to thwart Anastasiades – who, in AKEL’s terms, is the candidate of bourgeoise interests in Cyprus, interests that have, according to AKEL, conspired to undermine and discredit the government of Dimitris Christofias – and also because AKEL supporting Lillikas would mean a significant place for the communists in any government he might form. 

However, if AKEL were seen to strongly back Lillikas – who it should be stressed is despised by the communist party, for which Lillikas was an MP and government minister from 1996-2007, abandoning it to support Tassos Papadopoulos against Dimitris Christofias in 2008 – then this would alienate some of Lillikas’ more right-wing supporters, who would not want to see AKEL continue in government after five years of disastrous rule.  

In other words, it will be this inability of Lillikas to construct a viable coalition between his left-wing and right-wing supporters that will guarantee Anastasiades’ easy victory in February.


Ted said...

I don't know anything about Cypriot politics and I enjoyed reading your insight into the matter. But why do you call it the"annan card" usually we use the term card when someone has no merit to their argument and uses political correct constructs like the race card to get their way.

In the case of the Annan plan I consider anyone who voted for it a traitor, so it may not be the only issue but do find it troubling that a candidate can get any votes if he voted for it.

John Akritas said...

Maybe traitor is going too far, though Anastasiades' role in 2004 was sickening. It is a shame that he will become president and that Malas and Lillikas are worse options.