| Politics |Cyprus Mail



WHO COULD have believed that there would come a day when only a pitiful 8 per cent of our population would consider the Cyprob the most important issue facing the country? It is considered less important than the high cost of living (26 per cent), the economy (15 per cent) and corruption (18 per cent), according to an opinion poll shown on CyBC on Thursday night.

While the cost of living and the economy are the most immediate problems facing people, it is difficult to understand why corruption is rated as a bigger problem than the Cyprob, when it is no different. It has been around forever and will never be solved because keeping it going benefits the politicians and their supporters.

The Cyprob may be the main theme of presidential speeches, of endless announcements by the political parties, of newspaper columns and is always presented as big news, but all that this blanket bombardment of platitudes has achieved is to make people switch off for good.

Why carry on listening to all these defiant and heroic words that are exposed again and again as completely meaningless? Now we will not even believe politicians when they tell us the Cyprob was the number one problem facing the country.


ALL TALK about the Cyprob currently comes across like parody. A few months ago politicians and media created a big fuss because the Turks opened up another 100 metres of beachfront in Varosha, placing umbrellas and sunbeds there.

There was the usual public breast-beating, calls for EU sanctions against Turkey, appeals to the UN, and condemnation of the West’s double standards. While Russia was mercilessly bombing Ukraine causing death and destitution our guys were moaning about some sunbeds on an unused beach and pretending this was a legitimate gripe that deserved world attention.

In the last week, another major issue emerged. The Turks would be carrying out construction work on the Cetinkaya football ground in the buffer zone, near the Ledra Palace Hotel, so it could be used for the side’s training. Again, there was uproar, parties saying the Turks were trying to create a new fait accompli and demanding a government response.

It is difficult to end the habit of a lifetime even after it has become apparent that it is not just the outside world that does not care. Even Greek Cypriots have stopped listening.


FOREIGN minister Ioannis Kasoulides, as was his duty, made the obligatory “strong and strict representation via phone to Colin Stewart,” the UNSG’s special representative, for the way Unficyp was exercising its terms of reference.

Kasoulides told Stewart that he would not tolerate anyone interpreting our side’s constructive approach as weakness. The Canadian, who has been antagonising our side ever since he arrived, insisted decisions were in line with the buffer zone regime.

The foreign minister demanded the immediate suspension of the work on the Cetinkaya ground and urged that actions “that could be exploited by the Turkish Cypriot side for upgrading of the separatist entity, should be avoided.”

A football ground in the buffer zone would lead to the upgrading of the pseudo state and must be stopped? If anyone it still paying attention to what is being said, he could interpret this as a Cyprob parody or send-up.


THE CyBC poll showed that Christodoulides remains way ahead of his two main rivals even though his lead has been cut. Not enough though to give the candidates much cause for optimism. The darling of the voters was backed by 30.5 per cent, and Averof was still more than 10 percentage points behind at 19 per cent; Mavroyiannis took 17 per cent.

What must be really galling for Averof is not so much the size of the lead but the fact that half the Disy voters would not be backing him – only 48 per cent of Disy voters would back Averof and 30 per cent Christodoulides, according to the poll. The big bet for him, as many analysts have pointed out is the ‘syspirosi’ of the party.

My translation service gives the English equivalent of this as ‘coalescence’ but a more accurate (and poetic) rendering is ‘gathering the sheep back to the fold.’ This is the big bet for the Disy chief, but as any betting man will tell you, the danger of more of the Disy flock following the pied piper of Yeroskipou, who also enjoys 14 per cent support among the Akel sheep, cannot be ruled out.


DESPITE his unwavering efforts to appear as humble, polite, warmhearted and magnanimous, the pied piper cannot always suppress his mean streak when put under pressure in TV debates, as was the case, not for the first time, on Monday night.

He had been baited by another candidate and was unable to maintain his Mr Nice Guy persona after Constantinos Christofides said to him: “He lived for nine years in the corruption, but saw nothing, heard nothing, understood nothing, staying there holding his position.” Christofides then turned the knife. “You either have limited awareness and understood nothing, or you were aware but kept quiet to hold on to your position.”

His response was to tell us what a nice guy he is. “I would not say about anyone that he has limited awareness or limited judgment,” before coming up with his gem. “But it is an insult to 50 per cent of the people.” Was he suggesting that 50 per cent of people that had limited awareness and judgment, like him, would feel insulted?


I WOULD put the percentage much higher than Christodoulides, which may go some way in explaining his popularity, but reading my friend Bambos Charalambous’ column in Alithia, which was devoted to analysing this quip, I realised my interpretation was completely wrong. We are all guilty of limited understanding sometimes.

Bambos saw the quip as blatant show of Louis XIV type arrogance – Christodoulides, who had never stood in an election in his life, never had a single vote cast for him, was claiming he represented 50 per cent of the population, because he was doing well in opinion polls. And therefore, an insult to him was an insult to the 50 per cent of the people that supported him.

Bambos wrote: “And if tomorrow he is elected with 60% or 70% or 97% (of Makarios) he will be all the people? And if tomorrow someone considers Christodoulides an incompetent president or useless or anything else, would it mean he is judging the people, attacking the people and insulting the people?” Bambos should just accept Christodoulides is the people, at least 50 per cent of them, and get over it.


TALKING about the people, who must never be offended, what do you say about the 41 per cent of Cypriots that believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must not be condemned? Would it be offensive to say they have limited understanding and judgment?

This was also part of the CyBC poll, which found that 58 per cent disagreed with Kyproulla imposing the EU sanctions against Russia, even though it had just annexed four districts of the Ukraine with sham referendums.

At least people were following the shining example of their political parties which in 2016 passed a House resolution calling on the EU to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia for the annexation of Crimea. Only Disy abstained.

Meanwhile, head of the Cyprus Research Centre (Kykem) Christos Iacovou, commenting on the poll, was at pains to offer an excuse why 54 per cent of people said the government was correct to condemn the invasion. It did not occur to him to explain why only half the population thought Russia’s brutal aggression deserved to be condemned.


KYPROULLA has become so right on that the government has prepared a bill by which anyone over 16 years of age could change gender simply by filling in a few forms. Once the forms are filled in, signed and submitted, a boy can become a girl and girl become a boy.

Nothing else is required, a teenager is entitled to define their gender before they have the right to vote, sign a binding contract, buy alcohol, go to a nightclub, or drive a car. I suspect the government did not think through this rightonness.

If a boy fills in the form and becomes a girl would she be exempt from doing military service? Just asking.


PREZ NIK landed himself in a bit of a pickle 10 days ago when addressing a charity dinner at the Eoka fighters rehabilitation centre in Limassol. He had ended his speech by saying: “I want to assure you that irrespective of who will be president, given that it appears it would be one of my three associates, I will have the influence so that this love will be transmitted and state support will continue in the same way.”

He got a lot of stick for the suggestion that he would still be running the show after he’s left office and that the three candidates would be following his orders. The fuss continued for days, even after the government spokesman made a statement claiming the prez had been misunderstood.

In the end, Nik had to make another statement. His reference “was nothing but a joke, based on what was being written and said about the three candidates.” It was a good joke, even if it took him four days to let us in on it.


Patroclos is the pen-name of Kyriacos Iacovides, who has maintained his sanity despite writing this column for more than 30 years. Tales from the Coffeeshop first appeared in April 1991 with the objective of offering some light reading in the Sunday Mail. Its target audience was the people who do not take life and Cyprus politics, too seriously.

You may also like

Comments are closed.