Campaigners for the introduction of horizontal voting in Cyprus using social media to send out their message have received hundreds of signatures within hours.
This is what Andreas Paralikis who is among those behind the Facebook campaign ‘We can get 10,000 signatures’ told The Cyprus Daily, yesterday.
“Within hours we have collected over 600 signatures. I’m certain we will get the 10,000 we are aiming for…the next step will be an official petition before the government because the time has come for action to be taken by citizens fed up with anachronistic attitudes,” Paralikis said.
He added: “It is the political parties in Cyprus that have ruined this country. The idea behind this campaign has come from disillusioned voters. And there are many.”
Under the present system, voters choose either the party or specific candidates from that same party.
This deprives tens of thousands of people the right to choose the best candidates, irrespective of what party they belong to.
Campaigners are aware that the electoral system won’t change before May 25’s European elections in Cyprus due to time restraints.
But their aim is for the change to be in place by the island’s next parliamentary contest.
In December, ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou said the party acknowledged that all voting procedures needed to be looked at including European parliamentary elections and local elections.
And that Disy would discuss the matter with the other parliamentary parties, considering that abstentions have now reached 40%.
He also disclosed that he would put forward a proposal that both mayoral and parliamentary elections take place simultaneously.
At the same time, Disy but also Opposition Akel – the island’s two biggest parties – are getting ready to announce their Euro election candidates as possible hopefuls from centre Diko are being touted.
One of the rumoured names for Diko is George Lakkotrypis who has submitted his resignation as energy minister after the party withdrew from the governing coalition 10 days ago.
But he has also submitted his resignation from the party in protest against the new leadership’s decision to leave the Nicos Anastasiades government a year only after the presidential elections.
And informed sources said he has been wooed by the party but showed very little enthusiasm.
Akel’s former presidential runner Stavros Malas who lost the race but left a good impression has also reportedly dismissed the possibility of being an MEP candidate.
However, high-ranking party members and MPs such as Nicos Katsourides who used to be Akel parliamentary spokesman up until a couple of months ago, and ex-Akel spokesman Stavros Evagorou are said to be contemplating the possibility.
As for Disy, it is certain that tiny Evroko’s leader Demetris Syllouris will run on the party’s ticket following a cooperation agreement reached last month.
Another certain candidate is MEP Eleni Theocharous because of the female quota as well as Rena Choplarou for her European campaigning.
Party chief Neophytou still has to announce who his chosen candidate will be as the leadership will choose their hopeful from four over the weekend. The four are government spokesman Christos Stylianides, MEP Andreas Pitsillides, MP Soteris Sampson and MP Lefteris Christoforou.
This year’s EP elections will be the third in which Cyprus is participating since its full accession to the EU, in May 2004. Cyprus elects six members to the EP.