Christofias can neither satisfy nor fool everyone.
THE RABID reaction by the hard-liners' camp to the President's choice of individuals for the technical committees and working groups were a testimony to the audacity and hypocrisy which marks its behaviour. While the hard-liners like to pose as the custodians of democracy, in reality they have been exhibiting fascistic traits.
For four years they were on the rampage, using the 76 per cent 'no-vote' in the referendum as their banner. They pursued a paranoid policy that put us on a collision course with the rest of world. This policy was emphatically rejected by the people in last February's elections, but the self-appointed custodians of democracy refuse to accept this rejection. They will not accept defeat.
In February's elections, the voters were given the opportunity to choose between the two different 'philosophies' in the Cyprus problem a" former president Papadopoulos stood for the hard-line, nationalist camp while Demetris Christofias and Ioannis Kasoulides both represented pragmatism. And nobody could claim that either side had tried to hide its agenda and to mislead the public.
Both Christofias and Kasoulides had repeatedly declared that, if elected, they would immediately meet Mehmet Ali Talat with the aim of setting up negotiations for a settlement. The forces of rejection, which had rallied behind Papadopoulos, also made it clear that they would resist efforts for a settlement. 'Vote for me so I can continue to say 'no'' was the main message of Papadopoulos' daily, full-page advertisements in the newspapers.
An open letter from the father of the rejectionist philosophy, Dr Vassos Lyssarides, was published in the papers, two days before the elections and set out the choice for the voters very clearly. It said: "Two philosophies are on offer. Will we honour the popular verdict, as it was expressed in the referendum or will we re-consider it? Support of Papadopoulos would represent a mandate for continuing on the same basis."
The two choices were very clear a" continuation of the 'no' policy or its re-evaluation? And 67 per cent of the people voted against the 'no' policy. After four years, two thirds of the people had changed their mind. The 'no' policy was resoundingly defeated; it only took 31 per cent of the vote. This was all the support the forces of rejectionism had managed to muster.
But why do they still refuse to accept that they were defeated? Is this how democratic they are? They were crushed in the elections, but are acting as if they had won. You only have to hear the arrogant declaration of Nicholas Papadopoulos, Marios Karoyian and the rest of the ultra-patriotic camp. They have been promising to ensure the continuation of the Papadopoulos policy a" the policy that was rejected by the electorate. They have the nerve to demand the right to decide who would sit on the technical committees and working groups.
To be fair though, President Christofias has a large share of the responsibility for this fascistic behaviour, by his alleged allies. Until a few months ago, his party Akel was discussing making changes to the Annan plan with representatives of Talat's CTP, but after his election he liked to give the impression that he was pursuing a Papadopoulos policy. The hard-liners are justified in asking the president the following: if as you say you will not accept any part of the Annan plan, why have you assigned people who supported it, to negotiate something completely different? They have a point.
Christofias needs to understand that a president, above all, must be consistent and rational. He cannot pursue a solution policy while pretending that he is following the Papapdopoulos policy so as to keep Karoyian, Lyssarides and the Archbishop happy. He should stop deluding himself that it is possible to satisfy a" or fool a" everyone.
The only settlement on offer to us is the Annan plan with some modifications. Everything else is demagoguery. Even Papadopoulos had the courage to say this on several occasions. If Christofias does not have to guts to say this in public, how on earth can he ever solve the Cyprus problem?
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