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DIKO Leaves Government Coalition

The Democratic Party (DIKO) has decided to leave the government coalition, citing differences over the approach to the Cyprus problem.

"There are serious differences in our approaches to the Cyprus problem...and the Democratic Party has ceased to cooperate with the President," said DIKO head Marios Garoyian.

The development follows Garoyian's ultimately fruitless talks with President Christofias, who is set to announce which ministers will take part in the new Cabinet in the next few days.

AKEL party secretary Andros Kyprianou said that the communist party will meet with other political parties in an attempt to gain a consensus to deal with the economy's problems.

AKEL supports a reshuffle which would have "the greatest possible support" and has submitted a list of ministers to the president, said Kyprianou.

Asked about calls for the president to resign, Kyprianou said that Christofias will serve out his five-year term and that "the last thing this place needs now is a sterile and unproductive confrontation between political parties."

But with calls for the president to resign coming from all political parties except AKEL, the likelihood of a smooth transition from one Cabinet to the next is fading fast.

Last week, DIKO party members who were ministers resigned after foot dragging by AKEL over austerity measures. Most of the proposed measures will mainly impact civil servants and trade unions have begun reacting against them. Since the unions are communist party AKEL's traditional power base, Christofias is loath to alienate them and lose further support. This is especially true in the wake of the explosion at Mari naval base on July 11th, after which polls show that 85 percent of respondents want his resignation.


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