The United Democrats had supported the candidacy of Demitris Christofias in the Presidential elections of 2008 on the expectation that he would work effectively towards the attainment of an agreed solution for the reunification of Cyprus.
After the devastating accident in July 2011 which had destructed the main electricity generation plant in Cyprus and the havoc that had followed, the United Democrats were called into the Government to contribute to the efforts of rehabilitation that had to be undertaken primarily by the competent Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (and of energy).
On the assumption of office on 5th August 2011, the leader of the United Democrats , Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou, was delivered a Ministry of power cuts. Seven months later the Ministry turned from one of despair to one of sound promise for the future of the country.
Beyond addressing the results of the accident, the new Minister brought forward the first exploratory drilling for hydrocarbons offshore Cyprus, as a result of which natural gas was discovered for the first time in Cyprus. She then proceeded to the opening of a new licensing round based on transparent and credible procedures and on a thoroughly revised and enhanced production sharing contract.
The discovery of natural gas in Cyprus opened new bright prospects for economic development and prosperity for current and future generations of the country, while at the same time it enhanced the image of the Eastern Mediterranean as a new potential source of natural gas to Europe which can enhance the energy security of the European Union.
In parallel, the Minister had worked hard for preparing her country for the upcoming Cyprus Presidency of the European Union, through her active and productive participation in three Council Configurations and through meetings with the competent Commissioners.
In the end, it proved that the gas portfolio was too important to be left in the hands of a non-mainstream politician who happened to be pro-solution, a liberal and a woman.
Hence the participation of the United Democrats in the Government of Demitris Christofias in Cyprus was terminated by the President himself. And it was terminated in such a provocative and insulting way that can only be matched by the sexist behaviour of the members of Parliament towards the minister in parliamentary committee meetings and of course by the degrading coverage of many of the media.
Character assassination is still a well established method of doing away with contesting political views and their bearers. To the extent that some politicians have the decency and courage to choose to serve national interests versus those of the establishment, the system proceeds ruthlessly to the eradication of their political clout.
And it has become evident that the system is well rooted across most political parties and mass media.
The United Democrats have long been acknowledged as the most dynamic pro-solution Party in Cyprus which enjoys relations of trust and cooperation with the pro-solution forces amongst the Turkish Cypriot Community. It is no wonder that, with the help of their wider liberal political family, they had even tried to build bridges of communication with Turkey so as to facilitate the building of trust that the resolution of long standing political problems necessitates.
The United Democrats more than ever will continue to work for the reunification of their country and for the transition of Cyprus into a truly European country based on the liberal values of freedom, democracy and respect of human rights. Their responsibility in shaping a better future for their country and in contributing to the building of peaceful relations of cooperation in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean through the resolution of problems of the past becomes even greater, in view of the coming Presidential elections in Cyprus in less than a year’s time.
Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou
President of the United Democrats