Left under supervision?

Back in the not-so-distant past, the news that a communist party leader had been elected president of Cyprus would have given the Athens government the creeps. To the more conservative pundits, the people on the left were lacking in patriotism, at best. These days, the election of Communist Party (AKEL) leader Dimitris Christofias as president may be a first in Cypriot and EU history, but seems unworthy of being reported on the radio or television ahead of the Zachopoulos case or the opposition PASOK convention. Had nationalist LAOS party leader Giorgos Karatzaferis been more aggressive in his comments or had he been joined by Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis or Thessaloniki Bishop Anthimos – who did not seem much worried by the communist invasion, as it were – perhaps the news would have got greater attention. Also, we would perhaps have learned what AKEL actually stands for, what the party’s principles are, and what its position is on the Turkish-occupied north and the reunification of the island. Athens’s low profile must have something to do with developments closer to home (the Cyprus-decides-and-Athens-supports dogma has given way to a more passive approach) as well as on Cyprus itself. Christofias’s victory was comfortable but it was by no means a triumph for the Left, as it was the result of an alliance between parties. The fact that there was no attempt to disguise the deal (which is typical for Cyprus) may be odd for Greek standards but it is perhaps more sincere and thus preferable to the murky intrigues and exchanges that take place in Athens. We will soon find out whether the votes-for-ministries deal will place the Christofias presidency under supervision.