Battered Government Coalition Holds Together
The tattered coalition between ruling communist party AKEL and conservative party DIKO appears to have survived DIKO's reduction in parliamentary seats and change in House Speaker after DIKO MP Marios Garoyian met yesterday with President Christofias.
Despite media speculation predicting a government reshuffle and even the possibility of DIKO leaving the coalition, it appeared that Garoyian and Christofias listened to each others' suggestions on the economy and Cyprus reunification talks.
"The debate was in a good atmosphere, there were arguments from both sides in relation to the structural problems we face," said Garoyian.
He added that the president listened carefully to DIKO's suggestions and opinions and there was an "attempt to find common ground to address" problems in the economy.
DIKO MP Nikolas Papadopoulos has expressed frustration with the slow pace of government economic reforms, and with DIKO's partnership with AKEL. Critics say that the partnership is unworkable given the two parties' different approaches to the economy, with AKEL supporting populist economic measures and DIKO acting as the main opposition to AKEL's positions. The two parties are also far apart on the Cyprus problem, and DIKO has resisted various proposals put forward by Christofias, for example, on a rotating presidency in a future federal united Cyprus.
"We repeated...that the (proposals on ) rotating presidency and weighted vote for the 50,000 settlers should be withdrawn," said Garoyian.
With DIKO chafing at its minority partner status and AKEL following its populist economic measures, quick and efficient action to handle Cyprus' economic problem may not happen anytime soon.
Nonetheless, all eyes are on pensions reform; a debate that was postponed because of parliamentary elections but that is still on the table and still has to be handled one way or the other - hot potato or not.