NEWS

Cyprus’s AKEL eyes top job

The Communist party in Cyprus’s ruling coalition broke ranks with President Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday, saying it planned to field its own candidate in elections next year. Communist AKEL said it would seek backing from the other two parties in the ruling center-left coalition, but would proceed with leader Demetris Christofias as their candidate with or without their partners’ consent. With backing of more than 30 percent in the last election, a candidate from AKEL would spoil Papadopoulos’s chances of winning a second term in next year’s poll. «This is a step of historic significance with historic decisions to be made,» Christofias told delegates at an extraordinary party conference before the vote. The decision to field the 60-year-old Christofias could now see the four AKEL ministers in Papadopoulos’s coalition administration quit the cabinet because of a conflict of interest. It was the first time in its 81-year history that AKEL decided to field a candidate from within its own ranks for the island’s top job. (Reuters/AFP)