Opposition parties on Wednesday tried to turn the tables on Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades who told the overseas Cypriots conference that populist slogans and unrealistic promises would not help solve the Cyprus problem.
Party leaders addressed the conference on Wednesday with the more hardline among them accusing Anastasiades of being the populist and of creating a false climate of optimism and of selling fairytales to the Greek Cypriot people.
On Tuesday night Anastasiades had said: “We must realise that unrealistic promises and populist slogans have no place when it comes to the national problem. I will never allow populism to lead the way. What our country needs is a strong leadership, unity and joint action.”
Chief critics were DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos and Citizens’ Alliance Giorgos Lillikas with the Green Party’s Giorgos Perdikis and EDEK’s Marinos Sizopoulos also slamming the current process.
“Populism is when you tell the public you don’t accept guarantors [for a reunited Cyprus] but behind the scenes you are discussing the ways it could be guaranteed,” said Papadopoulos. “Populism is telling refugees they have property rights but in substance you to agree to such exemptions that no one will get to return. Think what will happen if we dowgrade from state to community. Solution could be the end of Greek Cypriots on the island. Think what will happen if we are turned into Mediterranean Palestinians, people without a state.”
Lillikas criticised the ‘too optimistic’ climate. “As the Citizens Alliance we are convinced that the Greek Cypriots do not need fairytales that Cyprus will be drowning in investments,” he said.
In an earlier statement the party said it welcomed Anastasiades’ comments that populism would not help find a solution. “That is why we are calling on the government to stop the populism that says a solution will boost our economy.”
Sizopoulos and Perdikis also outlined their opposition to the current negotiations, echoing warnings about “dangerous optimism”.
Main opposition AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said that his party had a number of disagreements with the government, particularly on the economy, “but the interests of the country and the people requires that we all work together to solve the Cyprus problem,” he said.
“Slogans are fine and can make our breasts burst with pride and caress our ears but usually never produce results. We do not want slogans but actions and attitudes that bring practical results,” he added.
Anastasiades is expected to brief the party leaders on developments on September 8 and the house plenary behind closed doors on September 15.