I have been listening carefully to public interviews and statements from the presidential candidates in Cyprus and I am not convinced that after the elections the country will leap forward to a more stable future or enjoy a socially conscientious government as promised by those aspiring to the top chair!
Generally, politicians in Cyprus have not performed well and there is no indication they will do better next time around.
Why should they? The cultural and political system works perfectly well for them; it’s not what one knows but whom he/she knows! Meritocracy in the system is a rare commodity indeed!
With the exception of the nationalist candidate all the other hopefuls are a product of the same political mold and rose to power within the system and remain an integral part of the Cyprus politicocracy (Kommatokratia).
They are campaigning for support by sharing the same superficial rhetoric to attract swing voters who will help them gain an edge over their competitors.
People are aware that it is wishful thinking to expect changes in the mentality of the current political elite. Choosing a new president will certainly not alter the existing ethos but would instead intensify the political power of the status quo.
Electing a dynamic leader with statesmanship, charisma and a vision to propel the nation to greater heights would be a miracle for Cyprus — and miracles rarely happen in real life!
However, no matter what happens at the polls a president will ultimately be elected! Come Election Day, voters will rush out to execute their civic duty and cast a ballot for the leader of their own choosing on the misconception that that is what democracy is all about; cast a vote and hope for the best! Greeks do not choose on policies when voting but, like drones, they blindly follow political party dogmatism!
Ironically only a rare few would question the system itself; an institutional and corrupt one that in the past ten years has bankrupted Cyprus and brought ruin to a wonderful island.
Today however, the republic faces a greater risk under the proposed Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF) and be partitioned. The island is about to become yet another test case for the UN and EU, just like the Troika’s Bail-in did to the economy!
The BBF issue is very high on the election campaign but none of the politicians and candidates offer — except for pie in the sky — real clarity on how to deal with the issue.
Actually, the political system on the island has always produced second-rate politicians that dare not stand up to be counted and do the right thing.
In fact, they shamefully voted with the Anastasiades government for the Bail-in robbery on stealing people’s pensions, cropping worker’s wages and raiding people’s bank accounts in order to save a corrupt banking system. That’s the kind of caliber of leadership Cyprus produces; spineless politicians that quickly forget the people and the reason that put them in office in the first place!
To this very day, the government feels no remorse or shame for approving the Troika’s 2013 banking criminality, and the president campaigns for re-election. His government’s thievery has triggered an economic collapse, personal bankruptcies and a suicide rate never seen before on the island.
Five years on and fully protected by the establishment, those same banks are now planning a new and more radical onslaught against the most vulnerable sector in society; repossession of homes in the name of institutional profit and greed!
Without a shred of social responsibility, bank-repossession orders are expected to start soon after the 2018 elections. For the first time ever in the history of Cyprus, homeowners in financial difficulties (mostly triggered by the Bail-in catastrophe) will forcibly be thrown out onto the streets and become homeless statistics.
Actually, the selling of toxic loans to third parties has already begun and repossessions are not far behind. With the government’s approval, Hellenic Bank has just unloaded a 145-million-euro property package to a Norwegian hedge fund at less than 40% of its actual face value — some believed to be much, much lower than that!
Why borrowers and property owners were not offered the same opportunity or the right of first refusal before dumping their home-loans onto loan sharks remains a well-kept secret! Contrary to pre-election spin, citizens are not stupid and the outcome of such a move is quite obvious to everyone — social chaos!
Now that the banks have been given the green light by parliament to dump toxic loans on the international market for quick cash, nothing stops them selling home mortgages! This move will open the floodgates of social disobedience and possibly outright revolt to protect the rights of the people. The voters for sure, will not forget the government’s Bail-in and its staunch support of the banking system.
No matter what happens at the polls, the country demands a government and the electorate is truly faced with a dilemma; to choose a president straight from one frying pan and into another!
Traditionally, entire families of Cypriots vote on party dogmatism and the same is expected this month but with one difference: there are thousands of disenfranchised citizens and they will punish the system at the polls — a weak government is anticipated as a way to clip the wings of the major parties and force politicians start to support the people and not a failed political system.
Politics on the island have always being considered failed/faked politics but especially this year. Vast amounts of money are spent on sleek campaigns to convince the public to go out and vote. All parties fear that the electorate will choose to abstain and for certain would destabilize the traditional dogmatic voting pattern.
That will send a severe message and devastating blow and to all the political parties that the people control the government and not the other way round.
It is estimated that more than 35% of voters will choose to disassociate themselves from a political system that manipulates their vote in the name of political-party expediency. Out of 40,000 new young eligible voters last month, more than 30,000 decided not to register.
This paints a grim picture of things to come in the life of politics in a pseudo-democracy; one that aims to accommodate the elite and a banking system but chooses to ignore and protect the ordinary citizen at large.
In the end, the country has to have a government to govern the nation. Good or bad, that’s the system of today and people have to make a choice: go out and vote for a party of a lesser evil; abstain or cast a white/blank vote and reduce the power base of all the political parties so they start to pay attention to people’s needs and not be ignored after the elections.
Ultimately, the final word rests with the electorate and on January 28, they will decide who is going to manipulate their vote less than the other!
**Andreas C Chrysafis is a UK-published author of five books and over 400 press articles. His latest books “Aphrodite’s Sacred Virgins” and “Andreas C Chrysafis ART –Volume 1” are available from bookshops, Amazon and online book providers.