Cypriots will go to the polls on February 5 to elect the 8th President of the Republic. The campaign began very early compared to previous elections and will intensify during the remaining few weeks. According to all polls conducted since May, former Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, enjoys a lead in the race, receiving more than 30% of the votes.
Christodoulides announced his candidacy in May, without previously securing any political party’s support after he resigned as Foreign Minister in January. Within a few weeks after that, he secured the support of several political parties, including DIKO, EDEK, DEPA, The Solidarity Movement, and citizens across the political spectrum. It is noted that even though DISY contests the presidential elections with its Chairman, Neophytou, more than one-third of DISY voters support the candidacy of Nikos Christodoulides.
After a long dialogue and consultation with civil society, Nikos Christodoulides prepared a detailed governance program, and he is fully prepared to implement it if the citizens honor him with their vote. His program is specific, implementable, and cost, while his positions and proposals reflect the concerns and expectations the citizens have identified as priorities.
Through the Political Program of his governance, Chrsitodoulides aims, among other things, the following:
• At the resumption of the negotiations for the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the agreed basis of a solution, undertaking a major diplomatic effort to interconnect the resolution of the Cyprus issue, the Euro-Turkish relations and Turkish aggression, through the adoption of a political decision by the European Council for the appointment of a strong political personality with specific terms of mandate working towards this direction.
• With the upgraded and more active participation of our country in the formulation of policies of the EU, taking advantage of the capabilities that come from our strong cooperation with the countries of the region within the framework of tripartite cooperation, for a foreign policy based on the correct analysis of geopolitical data and national interests guided by assertive realism.
• At strengthening the deterrent defense capacity of the country by institutionalizing the fixed expenditure for the defense to at least 2% of the GDP, with investment in modern systems, high technology and in the quality of the human resources of the National Guard, while also considering the perspective of operational restoration of the Joint Defense Doctrine of Greece – Cyprus.
• At the improvement of the competitiveness and development of the economy, through the expansion of the productive base and the completion of reforms, accelerating the green transition, with the exercise of a prudent fiscal policy that will allow the implementation of targeted social measures and the improvement of citizens’ well-being.
• At the effective management of migration by strengthening the competent services and speeding up the relevant procedures, so that the time required to examine asylum applications does not make Cyprus an attractive destination, combined with the overall review of the benefits provided.
• To strengthen social cohesion through balanced development, support the middle class, alleviate the vulnerable and ensure a decent living for all citizens.
• At the reduction of the cost of living in everyday life using electricity and fuel as reference points, where with the support of the state, citizens and businesses can quickly install photovoltaics, thermally insulate their homes and buildings, replace energy-consuming devices and vehicles, so that they have more resources available to meet their daily needs.
• At the implementation of a multi-level energy strategy that, in combination with the green transition, will allow for independence from the import of traditional conventional fuels and the utilization of the energy resources located in the EEZ of Cyprus and the wider region.
• To strengthen the transparency, audit, and accountability framework at all levels, by improving existing structures and creating new ones, so that the government is more checked, and its decisions are better evaluated.
• To link education with the labor market through the strengthening of career orientation and emphasis on positive sciences, technology, and technical professions, along with the simultaneous cultivation of critical thinking and skill development.
• At the strengthening and improvement of GESY, which is the most important social reform, for access to quality health services for all, and emphasize the upgrading of public hospitals, the operation of more trauma centers and emergency rooms, and the presence of pediatricians to respond to the needs of children.
• With the implementation of a substantial housing policy with the cooperation of the state, the local government, the private sector, and the banks, whereby through providing incentives and utilizing state land, the possibility of implementing the social housing policy will be offered.
• At the promotion of equality between women and men by appointing a 50-50 ratio in decision-making centers and creating conditions for deconstructing gender stereotypes and prejudices across all sectors.
• At the implementation of digital transformation with full utilization of modern technologies for the needs of the public administration and the improvement of the competitiveness of the private sector, to limit bureaucracy, strengthen transparency and improve the quality of service to citizens.
• At the creation of better prospects for the new generation through the creation of a youth advisory group at the Presidency of the Republic, the creation of quality jobs, the continuous acquisition of skills and addressing the housing problem.
• At the protection of the environment by adopting the principles of sustainable development and the circular economy as horizontal parameters of development planning and economic activity, with a parallel emphasis on strengthening preparations for protection against potential natural disasters.
• At the essential promotion of agriculture and animal husbandry with the utilization of technology, emphasis on quality and the adoption of good international practices with the aim of strengthening exports and upgrading the primary sector in the context of an expanded economic model.
• At the revitalization of the rural areas by ensuring the provision of the necessary health and education services, and direct access to government services, as well as by providing incentives for settlement and work.
• At the upgrading and modernization of the tourist product to attract new forms of tourist activity, utilize the characteristics of Cyprus, for the expansion of the tourist season and for the attraction of sports, conferences, and cultural tourism.
These are briefly some of Nikos Christodoulides’ ideas and proposals, formed jointly with Civil Society. He is determined and has the political will to implement them, for the benefit of all Cypriots.
Kyriacos Jacovides is a member of the Press and Communication team of Presidential candidate, Nikos Christodoulides