The Supreme Council of ruling party Democratic Rally (DISY) unanimously ratified the candidacy of the party’s president Averof Neofytou for the Presidency of the Republic. As the party’s Director George Lysandrides said, there was no other candidacy submitted. The Council members verified Neofytou’s candidacy by a show of hands.
Neofytou accepted the ratification of his bid to run for President recalling DISY founder and former President Glafkos Clerides’ slogan: “United, United, United, never Defeated”.
Addressing the event, Cyprus President and former DISY President Nicos Anastasiades spoke of historic, responsible decisions, which will determine the stability of the country.
“Today is a historic day, because the party unanimously decides that my successor will be my close partner,” he noted.
President Anastasiades spoke of his administration’s achievements in the past ten years and stressed the importance of unity in the party.
“I was one of the founding members of the party. Now, at the time of my departure, I beg of you this: Preserve the unity of the party,” he said, and called on party members to stand by Averof Neofytou, whom he described as “the patriarch of the party”.
On his part, Neofytou, who has also been the party’s president since 2013, presented his vision for Cyprus which is based as he said on Security – Growth – Solidarity. He put forward five key changes for his five-year governance.
The first change he proposed is “the whole state on the citizen`s mobile”, to put an end to bureaucracy and corruption. The second change concerns affordable housing for young couples. Third, is the opportunities for young people to start their own businesses, as well as opportunities for high-paying jobs in the public and private sectors.
The fourth change he proposed is a radical education reform, with an all-day school and no extra tutoring. The fifth change is to support the modern family and the working mother, by promoting flexible hours and significant financial assistance for every child born. In addition, he referred to a new policy for refugees, for a fairer treatment by the state.
Moreover, referring to Western allies rallying on Ukraine, DISY President noted that Cyprus can be part of this momentum, adding that the country could contribute in European energy security but also seek a solution process for the Cyprus problem, on the basis of bi-zonal bi-communal federation, free from the Turkish occupying army and the “outdated guarantees of the `60s”, which he proposes be replaced by the security of the new European defence mechanisms.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.