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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-30

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Wednesday, May 30, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Defeated DISY candidate claims rivals bought votes
  • [02] Minister orders probe into election fax fiasco
  • [03] Jockeying for position ahead of June 7 showdown
  • [04] Heavyweight victims of Sunday's poll
  • [05] Women double their representation in parliament
  • [06] Eurocypria pilots accept Neophytou offer
  • [07] Authorities seek to quell panic as meningitis spreads in Limassol
  • [08] Who's in and who's out

  • [01] Defeated DISY candidate claims rivals bought votes

    By Martin Hellicar

    DEFEATED DISY candidate Christos Rotsas yesterday claimed others had succeeded where he had failed in Sunday's parliamentary elections only by buying votes.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou called on Attorney-general Alecos Markides immediately to investigate the claims. Markides told the Cyprus Mail he had asked Rotsas to substantiate his vote buying claims.

    "It is well-known that there were promises of financial help," Rotsas told CyBC radio. "Candidates gave cash and promised more if they were voted in," the governing party's ex deputy charged.

    Rotsas, who made it into the last parliament when he replaced Socratis Hasikos after the latter became Defence Minister, said vote buying was an "isolated" practice. Rotsas also said such corrupt practices had been the election campaign's worst kept secret: "Everybody knows about this," he said. But he refused to name names.

    "I was surprised that a large section of our electorate was prepared to sell its holy right to vote," the DISY man said. He ironically suggested the fault lay more with the voters who sold their votes than the politicians who bought them: "In any case, those who bought the votes did well to do so, since voters were prepared to sell them."

    Rotsas said his aim in airing his allegations was to make people think, not to seek prosecution of vote buyers: "No, I will not take the matter further, " he said.

    New DISY deputy Ionnas Nicolaou said was not surprised by Rotsas' allegations, as he too had heard rumours of vote buying.

    Government Spokesman Papapetrou, whose United Democrats party crashed in Sunday's election, was not nearly as laid back about the matter as Rotsas and Nicolaou.

    "These are very serious allegations. Mr Rotsas, or anyone else making such claims, must immediately submit his complaints and I think the Attorney- general should investigate the matter off his own bat," Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

    Markides said he would only investigate the matter if Rotsas was prepared to back up his claims. "I have written to Mr Rotsas asking him to clarify what his complaint is," Markides said yesterday afternoon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Minister orders probe into election fax fiasco

    By George Psyllides

    INTERIOR Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday announced he had ordered an investigation into what had caused the technical problems that delayed the announcement of Sunday's election results for several hours.

    The election saw AKEL emerge as the largest party in parliament with 20 seats - 34.7 per cent - overhauling ruling DISY's 34 per cent and 19 seats.

    But the election process was marred by technical glitches, which caused confusion and delayed the announcement of winning candidates until after midnight.

    The fax machines hired to transmit the results from the counting centre in Nicosia to the Central election Service at the Interior Ministry could not handle the huge volume of paperwork, resulting in around 10,000 pages getting 'lost'.

    Chief Returning Officer Kyriacos Triantafyllides said the fax machines at the counting centre were indicating that the pages had been delivered when in fact they never reached the Election Service.

    When the glitch was discovered, exhausted counters, who had been up all night, had to check the results again before they could be forwarded.

    Yesterday, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou conceded that the use of fax machines was not a good idea.

    He said his ministry would look into what went wrong, since the government had determined the specifications of the machines.

    "It would have been better if the procedure had been carried out on site," he conceded.

    Christodoulou said computer networks should have been used instead.

    But he played down the mess, saying it had only resulted in a four-hour delay.

    He said the counting process had been frustrated by a last minute decision by the House to change the law and assign vote counting to five district centres instead of the 1,131 individual polling stations across the island.

    To make matters worse, the system had to handle around 60,000 new voters since the last election in 1996.

    Christodoulou reiterated that, despite the problems, there had been no irregularities and that the elections had been fair and objective.

    The minister added that DIKO's objection regarding the counting was unfounded.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides said DIKO's objection could not be treated as such.

    "It was not based on any provision in the election law, it was just based on their information and they did not ask for any legal remedies," Markides said.

    On Monday, DIKO filed an objection with the election authorities concerning the "long delay or failure of delivery" of election results from the central processing centre to the Central Election Service.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Jockeying for position ahead of June 7 showdown

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE date: June 7. The venue: the House of Representatives, Nicosia. The event: the showdown between the 'big two', DISY and AKEL, for the House presidency.

    Two days after the parliamentary elections, and DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades and AKEL chief Demetris Christofias were yesterday emerging as the main contenders for the coveted presidency of the parliamentary body.

    Veteran KISOS leader Dr Vassos Lyssarides was also maintaining his interest in the prestigious position, but his party's dismal showing in the polls had weakened his bargaining strength.

    Elections for the House presidency are seen as a test-run for the real thing: the 2003 Presidential elections. With neither left-wingers AKEL nor right-wingers DISY having the strength within parliament or amongst the electorate to win either the June 7 or the 2003 vote outright, the key lies in striking up an agreement with one or more of the smaller parties.

    DIKO, with nine parliamentary seats, would be the best coalition bet for both AKEL and DISY (who have 20 and 19 seats respectively). DIKO are not interested in getting one of their own into the House presidency seat and would favour a "personality of general acceptance", party official Andreas Angelides said yesterday.

    Lyssarides might fit the "general acceptance" bill, but the paltry four seats his KISOS party won on Sunday mean his own future as party leader, let alone his ambitions for the House presidency, seemed precarious yesterday. Lyssarides was defiant yesterday, saying his party's showing at the polls had no bearing on the House presidency issue. The socialist party leader restated his interest in the post.

    DIKO would most likely favour an alliance with AKEL rather than with DISY, but they would probably want AKEL first to agree to back DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos in 2003. AKEL are apparently loath to back Papadopoulos for next President.

    DISY and AKEL could well decide to back their own leaders for the House presidency, especially as neither Anastassiades nor Christofias are seen as viable candidates for 2003.

    Both Anastassiades and Christofias have been making no secret of their desire to stand for House leader, while being careful to state that the final decision rests not with them but with their parties.

    The coming days are likely to be filled with endless political wheeler dealing as parliamentary parties jostle for position ahead of the June 7 plenum vote. The arrival of three new parliamentary parties - ADIK, New Horizons and the Greens - is likely to add a new element to the mix.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Heavyweight victims of Sunday's poll

    By Martin Hellicar

    WHEN the dust finally settled on Sunday's parliamentary elections with the long-delayed announcement of the final list of winning candidates in the very early hours yesterday, no fewer than 23 new faces had come onto the scene.

    This 41 per cent renewal of the 56-seat House owes much to governing DISY, who will begin the new parliamentary session on June 7 with no fewer than 10 new deputies, more than half of their 19-seat parliamentary team.

    AKEL chipped in with six new deputies and DIKO with three, while newcomers ADIK, New Horizons and the Green party supplied one new face each.

    The biggest names among those falling by the wayside on Sunday were Andreas Parisinos and Katy Clerides of DISY, Takis Hadjidemetriou of KISOS and Stathis Kittis of DIKO.

    Both Parisinos and President Clerides' daughter Katy lost their seats by narrow margins. They were both well-respected members of the outgoing parliament. Parisinos rose above the stigma of having served under the 1974 coupist government to do what was generally accepted to have been a sterling job as chairman of the House Health Committee. Family connections aside, Katy Clerides was known as a highly active deputy, making her presence felt in a number of House committees.

    She had been among DISY voters' favourite choices in the 1996 parliamentary elections. Katy Clerides yesterday attributed her failure to the DISY electorate's desire for renewal. She also said it would be a "mistake" to interpret her rejection as an attempt by DISY voters to hit out at her father.

    Hadjidemetriou's failure was as bizarre as it was unexpected. The long- serving socialist deputy won the highest number of preference votes for his party but failed to make the cut because only one KISOS deputy got in the Nicosia constituency: party leader Dr Vassos Lyssarides.

    Kittis' defeat was a bitter blow for both the party and the man himself. A DIKO heavyweight and an established member of the House, Kittis was expected to have little difficulty regaining his seat.

    Another notable defeat was that of United Democrats leader and former President George Vassiliou, who failed to make the cut in Famagusta.

    Notable amongst the first timers are Eleni Mavrou and Sotiroulla Charalambous, the first women deputies ever elected for AKEL. Also coming in for AKEL is Agis Agapiou, the son of veteran AKEL deputy and human rights campaigner Yiannakis Agapiou. Agapiou senior did not seek re- election.

    New recruits for DISY include the son of recently deceased coup president Nicos Sampson, Sotiris, and Eleni Theocharous, the director of paediatrics at the Makarios Hospital in Nicosia. Also making it into parliament for DISY is lawyer Nicos Tornaritis, the brother of the owner of Olympiacos football club, Christoforos Tornaritis.

    At 72, Aristos Chrysostomou of DIKO is the oldest first time deputy.

    Dinos Michaelides, of ADIK, is counted among parliament's new faces, but can hardly be considered a newcomer to the political scene. Michaelides served as Interior Minister under two governments before being forced to resign in the face of corruption allegations two years ago.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Women double their representation in parliament

    By Rita Kyriakides

    SUNDAY'S Parliamentary elections results have doubled the amount of women serving as deputies in the House of Representatives.

    Six women were voted into Parliament, compared to just three voted in 1996.

    But the figure is still well below a 30 per cent target, which the government hopes to achieve by 2005, despite a Justice Ministry advertising campaign urging voters to elect female candidates in the run-up to the election.

    The six women elected to the 56-member House are only just over 10 per cent of deputies.

    The head of DIKO's women's branch, Antigoni Papadopoulou, was one of those who will make her debut in the new House. She feels that, even though the number of women in parliament is still too low, it is an improvement, not only in number but also in quality. "I believe that the women voted in to Parliament are going to open the doorway for the women of Cyprus. They all have special qualities in different fields of life," she told the Cyprus Mail.

    AKEL and DISY have two female deputies each, and DIKO and United Democrats have one each.

    It's the first time that AKEL have had female deputies.

    Eleni Mavrou (AKEL) is 40-years-old and was born in Kyrenia, now living in Nicosia. She has two degrees in Politics and one in International Relations. She was the General Secretary of AKEL's youth branch for 10 years and is now the head of AKEL's Rapprochement Office.

    Sotiroulla Charalambous (AKEL), aged 38, was born in Ayios Memnona near Famagusta, now living in Larnaca. She studied Politics in Bulgaria and now works as a trade unionist with PEO. She has been involved in politics since her student days as a member of AKEL's youth branch. She began work as the secretary for the Women Workers PEO of Larnaca-Famagusta and later moved to the main branch of the department of Women Workers at PEO.

    Maria Kyriacou (DISY) is 51-years-old and was born in Nicosia. She studied Law in England and works as a Civil Servant. She is head of Department of Intellectual Property and is a member of a Managing Committee of a school.

    Eleni Theocharous (DISY) is a familiar public face through her work for Doctors of the World. Aged 48, she was born in Limassol, studied Medicine and Philosophy and works as a doctor. She is President of the Cyprus branch of Doctors of the World and is Vice President of the Broadcasting Authority.

    Antigoni Papadopoulou (DIKO) is 47 years old and was born in Morphou. She studied Business Management in America, England and Cyprus. She works in the private sector. In her student days she was a member of the Social Welfare, the Hellenic Society and the Enlightenment Committee for the Cyprus Problem.

    The United Democrats' Androulla Vassiliou is the only woman of the batch to be re-elected to parliament. The former first lady is aged 58, was born in Paphos but grew up in Nicosia. She studied Law and International Relations in England. She works as a lawyer.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Eurocypria pilots accept Neophytou offer

    By Jean Christou

    EUROCYPRIA pilots yesterday agreed to accept a new proposal designed to put an end to years of friction with their Cyprus Airways (CY) colleagues over captain promotions in the charter firm.

    During a general assembly held yesterday, the pilots voted to go with the proposal from Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou, who made several attempts to avert strike action in Eurocypria last week.

    The deal overrides an earlier one the pilots made in April with Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas, which they and CY accepted but which management failed to implement.

    That agreement involved the promotion of two Eurocypria co-pilots to captain as a gesture of good will and financial compensation for the charter firm's pilots who had lost out on promotions to their CY counterparts, who have long been angling for common seniority between the two companies.

    Fearing that CY pilots' union PASIPY would react and ground the national carrier, management stalled on implementing the Eurocypria agreement until the charter firm's pilots themselves threatened strike action.

    Neophytou's solution to the no-win situation was to cancel the two immediate promotions and promise captainships to all eligible Eurocypria co- pilots who had lost out to CY, as of January 1 next year.

    "We agreed to accept that they would not promote the two co-pilots on this basis," a source in the charter firm said yesterday. "This will solve the whole problem forever, if the company abides by it."

    Six CY co-pilots were brought into the charter firm in January this year and as part of the agreement, must opt to remain in Eurocypria and cut all ties with CY or go back to the national carrier by the end of this year.

    This will end PASIPY's claims on the promotions in the charter firm, which in any case will be cut loose from CY as soon as four new Boeings being leased by the company are delivered next year and the Airbuses they currently use are returned to CY.

    A frustrated Neophytou hit out at both companies` pilots last week, saying he had had enough of disruption in the national carrier and threatened to rush in liberalisation in order to give "others" the chance to do a job he implied CY and Eurocypria were incapable of.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Authorities seek to quell panic as meningitis spreads in Limassol

    By Noah Haglund

    REPORTED cases of viral meningitis on the island have risen to 57 so far this year, 51 of which in the Limassol district, the Health Department reported yesterday.

    A student at the Soleas Gymnasium in Limassol was the latest to fall victim with a high fever and headache. Officials from the Health Department arrived on the scene to give advice on appropriate hygienic measures, but were unable to quell panic among parents and pupils, who abandoned the school.

    Last year, Cyprus saw over 100 reported cases of the disease, a five-fold increase over 1999. Since the majority of infections occur during the summer months, this year's total is likely to go even higher. However, one significant difference is that, during last year's outbreak, the Health Department did not note any significant differences in rates of the disease across different geographical regions.

    The department does not suspect contaminated water in Limassol district to be responsible for unusually high number of cases there, as some rumours have suggested.

    "We believe it is spread from person to person," the Health Department's Senior Health Officer, Dr. Chrystalla Hadjianastassiou, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Last week, Health Minister Frixos Savvides announced that the department was carrying out tests on the water supply in the Limassol district to detect possible links to this year's outbreak.

    "Up until now, we haven't had any results that say there is any problem with the water," confirmed Dr. Hadjianastassiou yesterday. "We are still waiting for additional results, but everything we have until now says that the water is OK."

    The department's major weapon against the spread of enterovirus, which causes the disease, has been a publicity campaign.

    "The primary advice is to observe personal hygiene after using the toilet and hand washing with hot water and soap before eating," recommends Hadjianastassiou.

    "It's what we've said many times and will repeat it again and again."

    Other precautions include keeping the door handles of bathrooms clean and discouraging children from inserting items such as pencils into their mouths, as this can spread the infection.

    In addition, glasses and cups should not be shared and those responsible for changing nursery children's clothes that have been soiled should make sure they wash their hands between children. Hadjianastassiou also advises that windows be opened regularly to help maintain a clean and fresh environment.

    "Although people thing it can't happen to them, it can. We are all very sensitive to enterovirus action," she warned.

    Because people with very mild forms of viral meningitis would not even see a doctor, there are no reliable figures for the number of cases. However, the symptoms, including the sudden onset of intense headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and stiff neck, are similar to the more dangerous bacterial form. Someone with a severe case of viral meningitis will need to be admitted to hospital for test to find out which form they are suffering from.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Who's in and who's out

    By a Staff Reporter

    AKEL

    New deputies (6): Andros Kyprianou, Eleni Mavrou, Yiannakis Lamaris, Agis Agapiou, Stavros Evagorou, Sotiroula Charalambous.

    Re-elected (14): Demetris Christofias, Nicos Katsourides, George Lillikas, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Aristofanis Georgiou, Kyriacos Tyrimos, Andreas Christou, Yiannakis Thoma, Kikis Yiangou, Christos Mavrokordatos, Costas Papacostas, Thasos Michaelides, Doros Christodoulides, George Hadjigeorgiou.

    Out of parliament (4): Avraam Antoniou*, Yiannakis Agapiou*, Christodoulos Veniamin*, Kikis Kazamias*.

    DISY

    New deputies (10): Nicos Tornaritis, Ionas Nicolaou, Andreas Papapolyviou, Maria Kyriacou, Eleni Theocharous, Sotiris Sampson, George Georgiou, Georgios Tassou, Zacharias Zachariou, Christodoulos Taramountas.

    Re-elected (9): Nicos Anastassiades, Prodromos Prodromou, Demetris Syllouris, Panayiotis Demetriou, Rikkos Erotokritou, Christos Pourgourides, Lefteris Christoforou, Antonis Karas, Costas Constantinou.

    Out of parliament (12): Yiannakis Matsis*, Katy Clerides, Andreas Parisinos, Christos Rotsas, Stelios Stylianou, Andreas Mouskos*, Evangelos Sammoutas, Stelios Yerasimou, Isidoros Makrides, Katerina Pantelidou, Lea Georgiadou, Sofoclis Hadjiyiannis.

    DIKO

    New deputies (3): Antigoni Papadopoulou, Aristos Chrisostomou, Sofoclis Fyttis

    Re-elected (6): Tassos Papadopoulos, Marcos Kyprianou, Marios Matsakis, Zacharias Koulias, Nicos Cleanthous, Nicos Pittokopitis.

    Out of parliament (3): Spyros Kyprianou*, Nicos Moushiouttas*, Stathis Kittis.

    KISOS

    New deputies (1): George Varnava.

    Re-elected (3): Vassos Lyssarides, Doros Theodorou, Yiannakis Omirou.

    Out of parliament (4): Takis Hadjidemetriou, Demetris Iliades*, Andreas Phillipou, Ilias Mirianthous.

    United Democrats

    New deputies: none

    Re-elected (1): Androulla Vassiliou.

    Out of Parliament (1): George Christofides.

    New Horizons

    New deputies (1): Christos Clerides.

    ADIK

    New deputies (1): Dinos Michaelides.

    Green party

    New deputies (1): George Perdikis.

    Those former deputies marked with an asterisk did not seek re-election.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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