The politburo of the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), probably the only communist party still actively playing a strong role in politics within the Western world, recently approved the presidential candidacy of its general secretary, Dimitris Hristofias, in the presiden-tial elections scheduled for Feb. 17, 2008.
Of course this unanimous decision will strongly shake Greek Cypriot political life, and some of the good old cornerstones will inevitably be changed.
From the very first day of his candidacy declaration, Hristofias began revealing the problems and disagreements he has experienced since 2003 with Tassos Papadopoulos, the president of Greek Cypriot administration.
It seems quite obvious that Hristofias will not hesitate to reveal the secrets kept behind curtains for ages, originating from the bad governance of Papadopoulos that led the Cyprus issue to a dead end.
It seems obvious that the hotter the electoral atmosphere gets, the national values and the importance of the Greek National Council will be more grounded and relied upon.
The most interesting of all is that Papadopoulos has now been forced to declare his candidacy irrespective of his strong intention to remain uncertain until the final hour. Otherwise he will have no official or political opportunity to defend himself from the attacks of his opponents and shift his arrows towards them.
Now the number of officially declared presidential candidates is three. The possible other candidates, if any, will not be as strong as the first three — Yoannis Kasoulides, a member of the European Parliament for Cyprus; Hristofias, the general secretary of AKEL and the speaker of the Greek Cypriot parliament; and Papadopoulos, the president of the Greek Cypriot administration.
Of course Papadopoulos still has not declared his candidacy offi-cially but is behaving as if he has and allows us to assume as much.
While Papadopoulos as a candidate has the advantage of being the president in power, Hristofias has in his pocket the solid votes of AKEL — topping 38 percent — earned consistently during the past 66 years.
During the last presidential election AKEL fully supported Papa-dopoulos, but now the situation has made a complete turn in the other direction. The leftist votes, even undetermined, will not flow to Papa-dopoulos as they did in 2003.
Kasoulides stepped into the arena with the votes of the Demo-cratic Rally of Cyprus (DISY) and the Movement of Free Civilians (KEP) in his pocket.
The political bureau of the DISY decided unanimously to back Kasoulides in full, as did the KEP. If the potential votes of various po-litical organizations are added together, the total supporting him seems to be around 41 percent.
Hristofias has in his pocket 38 percent of the vote coming with AKEL.
The Democratic Party (DIKO), which accounts for about 17 percent of the vote, will certainly go to Papadopoulos.
Although it seems mathematically that the winners of the first round of the elections will be Kasoulides and Hristofias, Papadopoulos may unexpectedly reach the finish line ahead of the other candidates.
A combination of his many years of service in the National Or-ganization of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) and devotion to enosis (the an-nexation of the island of Cyprus to Greece), being the brain behind the Akritas Plan (well known to Greek Cypriots and notorious to Turkish Cypriots) and his holding the power of the government in his hands may altogether possess the power to change the distribution of today’s votes during the next seven months.
If Papadopoulos’ health permits him to operate until the end of the elections, he definitely will be able to squeeze his opponents, who started their campaigns with almost 40 percent of the vote each.
It is now obvious that the some of the important political tactics of the past and secret policies concerning the future of the island will be revealed during the presidential election process.