| Politics |Phileleftheros



The Cypriot political scene has so many “simpletons” [Editor’s note: In Greek slang, the term ‘number’ is used], one more will not be the end of the world. Especially in a country like ours where all “simpletons” win and when they don’t win, they are rewarded! Yes, the world will not end by electing another “simpleton”. That is the only thing that is certain. Of course, the endeavour of every mindful citizen should be to rid politics of, of all sorts, of “simpletons”, right? And not to burden it with more. 

Is this not what logic dictates for the – admittedly abused and much-suffering – “bona fide interest of the country”? Anything else, in my eyes, would be no different from the idiom, “I spit up, I spit on my face, I spit down, I spit on my beard”. 

In the case of the “phenomenon” [Editor’s note: reference to Fidias Panayiotou, also known as ‘the Fidias Phenomenon’], of course, I don’t see many objecting to the above. That is, that one more “simpleton” representing us will not bring about the end of the world. Most of what I read and hear borders on exultation – some coming from people I respect, as well. Which is to say…generally and specifically, we’ve lost the plot. 

They call it a “protest vote”. I heard the pollster commenting on this the other day. “There is no doubt, the survey findings show that we are dealing with a protest vote,” he said. No, thank you.

I consider a protest vote to be a very serious matter and, without wishing to be misunderstood, I don’t think there is much seriousness in this particular category [of voters] – exceptions, a few or many, always exist. But such “protest votes” are no different from the “troublemakers” who like to smash things up indiscriminately, either “for the fun of it”, or because they “have a lot of anger within”, or just… because. “F%#@ everything”. So, a protest vote is one thing, and glorifying nothing another; a protest vote is one thing, and confronting all that bothers me with frivolity another; a protest vote is one thing, and giving a vote of confidence to the complete disdain and levelling of everything that is customarily dictated by the extremes, another.   

Of course, I am no pollster. I’m just giving my opinion. How I assess the situation to be in reality, always based on my far from infallible perception. Besides, as the saying goes: “Reality is the perception of the mind. Since no two minds  are the same, we have two completely different views of reality.” 

It would indeed be interesting if an expert could aid us by providing specific examples and data on when and where serious protest votes have been recorded in domestic elections. Personally, in the last decade (when we started to see a… fluidity in voter movements), I could only list as a serious protest in elections the abstention from the polls of a large proportion of traditional voters of a particular party. “Birds of a feather flock together” mostly concerns the other “phenomenon” of the polls, the far right, and that is not a “protest vote”. At least not in my eyes. And especially in the case of Cyprus – as we said, there are always exceptions, a few or many. There are certainly many reasons to explain the turn in that direction, but I would not rush to… “purify” it in the demagogic Pool of Siloam by calling it a “protest vote”. Specifically, this particular “turn”. Just as I would not rush to simplistically characterise as a “protest vote” the indication that a portion of voters is attracted to some novel formation. Given that the analyses of previous years made reference to a political void that was expanding year by year, as well as to a far from trivial portion of the electorate that felt orphaned, either because it had become disillusioned with other spaces that did not respond to its beliefs or because it was no longer adequately covered by them. 

Particularly now, as far as the rise of the far right is concerned, it’s no surprise. I would describe it as a natural consequence. And I must note that I did not notice any analysis of the rise of “phenomenon no. 2” moving within this context. Wrong. Very wrong. Though, I understand the awkwardness of the situation, because it requires at least one admission! Of its normalisation. A Mea Culpa. “We messed up.” “We raised it.” “We played with it and sang to it in its crib”… Something, anyway. There are political, ecclesiastical, parliamentary, legal, academic, journalistic responsibilities for this. Specific. Not vague ones. Who gave them microphones? Who turned a blind eye thanks to the “orthophony” on the “national issue”? Who coddled them? Too many “whos”… Hence, the sight of those whining like foolish virgins because they ran out of oil can only elicit laughter [Editor’s note: reference to The Parable of the Ten Virgins in the Bible]. Unfortunately, as you have made the bed, we will lie in it. But don’t expect us to put on black veils. 


Born in Famagusta. He studied journalism in Athens and has been working as a journalist since 1995. He worked for the Dias Media Group magazines as well as for Special Editions. Since 2007 he has been a member of staff at the Phileleftheros Group as Editor-in-Chief of monthly and weekly magazines. At the same time, since 2021 he is in charge of the Sunday supplement “Elefthera” of the Phileleftheros newspaper. He also contributes as a columnist for the various publications of the Group.

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