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AFP re-edited the article since I accessed it, excising an important comment I weant your comment on (even better if you can find the Greek original) -- here it is via NEWS.com.au:

"We have a vision, we have a history of struggle and contact with the people in our efforts to reunify our country without foreign troops," Mr Christofias said after casting his vote.

What does he mean? Only Turkish troops, or British, too?

Furthermore, I am curous what to expect of Chrisofias on issues other than re-unification and Turkey. (Him being a nominal commie and all.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 05:14:22 PM EST
The British troop issue is off-the-table as long as the Cyprus problem is still there. Antagonizing the Brits is useful only in terms of friendly threats.

For the longterm, this is a Falklands situation inside the EU. The British attitude toward the Cyprus bases is still one of a colonial master. And I'm especially referring to the fact that the Cypriots living on the bases (the bases themselves are HUGE, look at a map) do not have rights as EU citizens.

As for Christofias' background, his moves might be circumscribed by the fact that Cyprus's tax base and social safety net is (probably) the lowest in the EU. There is easily a lot of headroom for raising taxes, but it smacks into the main business of Cyprus (banking, tourism, shipping).

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 05:54:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The British troop issue is off-the-table as long as the Cyprus problem is still there. Antagonizing the Brits is useful only in terms of friendly threats.

But do you think the quoted part did mean the Brits, too?

If we are here, do the Turkish Cypriots and their political leaders have any opinion on the British presence in the South?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 06:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, these guys simply do not change policy from administration to administration. It's such a small place. Strategically, taking on the Brits on this is ill-advised.
by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 06:18:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AKEL has been steadfastly against the British presence on the island (and rejected the Zurich agreement because of them back in the day and used their continued presence as an excuse not to back the Annan Plan). Indeed they are of the opinion that the British military bases will be ousted from Cyprus as soon as the two communities are reunited.

I'd add to the excellent if pessimistic, diary by Upstate NY, that AKEL will no doubt take advantage of its excellent relations with a good deal of the T/C community. In his first speech after receiving over the phone congratulations by the leader of the T/C community Mehmet Ali Talat he said that

Starting tomorrow we join forces. We function collectively and with unity. To achieve the reunification of our homeland... At this time, our only ideology is Cyprus, its salvation and a fairer society...

We share a common vision of reuniting Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I extend a hand of friendship towards the Turkish Cypriots and their leadership

I must point out that Talat's ruling Republican Turkish Party is the leftist T/C party, and has a very long and strong relationship with AKEL. Should Christofias play this thing right and make some sort of deal with the T/C leadership, it might end up as a problem for Turkey. Whether Talat is in a position to rock the boat like that, I really can't tell.

As for their program. See their (not-exactly-up-to-date-or-firefox-friendly) website. If you go by rhetoric and symbolism, this is a "pure" Marxist party. However there is no mandate for social revolution. Since time immemorial Cyprus' political landscape was 1/3 nationalist, 1/3 centrist-moderate socialist and 1/3 communist (+/- a point or two). The only thing that's changed is that this is the first time that the communists have won the presidency with the support of the centre (rather than the other way around). There is room for a more social democratic Cyprus, indeed, but AKEL is cooperating with a socialist and a centrist party in the parliament, so Christofias most definitely doesn't have a free hand in policy.

Anyway, comrade Christofias' victory, is but a first sign of the Greek-speaking world's shift to the left. In Greece, the political landscape is collapsing and the left has been polling numbers it hasn't seen since the 1960s, led by a "Greek Besancenot", in age and radicalism - but for that development I must right a diary...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 06:37:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On policy, I quote from Bloomberg:

Christofias... last year sought to delay Cyprus's adoption of the euro which replaced the local currency last month.

He also pledged to keep Cyprus Telecommunications Authority and Electricity Authority of Cyprus under state control and to fight EU measures that might weaken welfare provisions and trade union powers. A spokesman of the opposition Disy party, Tassos Mitsopoulos, on Feb. 20 accused him of seeking to make Cyprus a "state of Euro-skeptics."

"I am not a Euro-skeptic," the communist leader said in a television debate with Kasoulides three days ago. "I'm a Euro- fighter. I fight for Cyprus's best interests within Europe. I won't say yes to everything the EU says."



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Feb 24th, 2008 at 06:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Things are moving very positively in the reunification front it seems.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 25th, 2008 at 07:59:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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