Political Uproar in Cyprus for Presidential Candidate’s Claim Over Reunification

A remark by presidential candidate Nicolas Papadopoulos on the Cyprus campaign trail over rules discussed in the reunification talks, has led to a political storm with accusations of “fake news”.

Speaking on Sunday at a campaign gathering in Chirokitia, Papadopoulos had argued that President Nicos Anastasiades made so many concessions that, if a solution were agreed, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci would “even get to appoint the Greek Cypriot MPs and Senators”.

Instant outrage prompted a clarification on Monday, and it turned out that he had been referring to the transition-period appointments to the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of a reunified Cyprus to be made until elections can be held.

The political storm soon spread to social media, with Green party vice-chairwoman Efi Xanthou backing Papadopoulos’ claim on Twitter, citing a classified document she refused to make public.

Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos subsequently attacked Xanthou, accusing her of lying and misinforming the public, before making his response the government’s official line in a statement.

“Following the last session of the National Council members were given a document with the convergences and divergences as recorded on March 15, 2017,” the deputy spokesman said.

“In this document, under ‘Major Divergences’ it is written in blue letters, as the proposal of the Greek Cypriot side, that each leader will be ultimately responsible for the appointment of the transitional officials from his own community.”

What Papadopoulos and Xanthou had been referring to, he added, was the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposed arrangement, documented in red.

Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, deputy spokesman Papadopoulos said it was sad that “some cannot rise to the occasion ahead of the presidential election”.

“Not only do they misinform, not only do they display populism, but by lying they are causing huge problems to our national affair,” he said.

“At some point, the election will be over. We will have a new government, a new president, and will have to manage the Cyprus problem. It is a very serious affair for the survival of Cypriot Hellenism, and so some should be much more careful, and they should read up.”

The spokesman expressed hope that the whole incident was “unfortunate”, meaning the Nicolas Papadopoulos campaign had misinterpreted the text it read, because “if it was intentional then things are much worse”.

On Wednesday, the Papadopoulos campaign tried to water down the claim that Akinci will have the power to approve – or veto – Greek Cypriots’ transitional appointments to government posts, releasing a letter from the president’s office dated October 7, 2016, and arguing that the agreed provisions of the solution “violate the principles of democracy at the most crucial, initial phase of its implementation”.

Source: Cyprus Mail