Major partner withdraws from coalition government

first_imgCyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed regret over a decision by the Social Democrats Movement EDEK to withdraw from government, saying that he was not surprised.The President also said that such moves make the pain-staking effort towards a political settlement in Cyprus even more difficult, adding that unfortunately “we are not as close to a solution” as some, at home and abroad, would like to think.In a statement read out to the press, President Christofias said EDEK had from the very beginning, when he assumed the presidency in March 2008, been acting as if it belonged to the opposition, despite the fact that it participated in the government, with regard both to the Cyprus problem and domestic issues.He said he would respect EDEK’s decision, but noted that this was a hasty move, adding that it would have been more appropriate if EDEK President Yiannakis Omirou were to have decided on the matter after a meeting of the leaders of the governmental coalition parties. The meeting was scheduled to take place on February 1st but was postponed due to the arrival in Cyprus of the UN Secretary General.EDEK`s decision was taken at a meeting of its Central Committee, with 115 votes in favour, eight against and three abstentions.In his speech, EDEK President Yiannakis Omirou talked about his party’s “total disagreement” with President Christofias’ strategy on the Cyprus problem.Mr Omirou said that his party had taken, what he said was a balanced decision to depart from the government partnership.EDEK had requested a meeting to discuss the creation of a committee that would deal with broader issues for the past two years, but that this had fallen on deaf ears, according to Mr Omirou.The EDEK leader noted that such a meeting would not have touched upon the Cyprus issue, and continued to analyse the differences that exist between his party and President Christofias’s policies.Two government ministers belonging to EDEK handed in their letters of resignation earlier that day.Referring to the Cyprus question, the President noted existing differences with EDEK, adding however that there is no gap in our approach, as presented in public. “There has been no development in the recent past in the negotiations on issues on which EDEK has disagreed to justify the decision to leave the government,” he pointed out.President Christofias said that government policy on the Cyprus problem has reinforced the Greek Cypriot side as regards the essence of the problem as well as the process and the tactics followed. “This is why EDEK’s decision to withdraw from government, especially at this time, raises questions and makes me feel regret,” he added.Christofias called on political parties “at least as regards the handling of the Cyprus question to continue our dialogue in an effort to achieve mutual understanding and unity to be able to overcome difficulties ahead of us.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img