THESES OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF AKEL
FOR THE 19TH CONGRESS OF AKEL
FROM THE 18th TO THE 19th CONGRESS
Five years have already elapsed since the 18th Congress of our Party. AKEL and our Popular Movement as a whole, have continued in this five-year-period, the struggle to achieve a just solution for Cyprus and our people; continued the struggle to defend and broaden the rights of the working people and the broad popular strata and have successfully fought significant political battles.
Thanks to the serious, patriotic approach, responsible and vindicative stand that characterize it, by its struggles, its mature political stand and its detailed proposals on every aspect of life in Cyprus, by its ability to renew and modernize itself, AKEL has managed, in the five-year period that has elapsed, to consolidate further the conviction among the people that it is a modern, national political force. It is a bastion of struggle for the rights of the common man, the manual and intellectual working people, the middle strata including those middle class strata that feel crushed under the pressure of big capital and the policy of the present governing circles. The May 1996 Parliamentary election results, during which the voters honoured AKEL with the high and increased 33%, confirm in the most explicit way the above assessments.
The big victory of the parliamentary elections was achieved, despite the peculiar and to a large extent unfavourable conditions, both internally and internationally. In the 1996 Municipal Elections we also had big successes; these are thanks to the positions, the policy and the struggles of our Party, to the daily contact with the people and their problems and to the mobilization of the cadres, members and friends of AKEL.
Mobilizing all the forces of the Party and our Popular Movement, AKEL waged, with enthusiasm and resoluteness, the electoral battle of 1998 to elect the president of the Republic. We fought a major and difficult battle in extremely unfavourable conditions. Our aim was to bring about a democratic Change. Although George Iacovou’s election to the highest post of the Republic was not achieved, nonetheless the 49,2% gathered by the candidate we had supported constituted a major moral victory of the forces that sought Change. The moral victory of the forces of Change, and their candidate, is not only found in the marginal electoral result, but also in the overcoming of deceptive slogans for the arrival of the S300 missiles, the “grand finale” and the policy of “active volcano” (NOTE: President Clerides’ policy of making Cyprus a “hot point” in order to evoke greater international interest, for a solution).
Clerides’ re-election to the presidency brought DISY (Democratic Rally), which represents the right-wing and the extreme-right, to the government for a further five-year period and has, as a result, the continuation of bad administration and intensification of deadlocks. Wrong decisions and handling in the Cyprus problem have contributed to a dangerous regress in our national issue. The governing circles have brought about a constant testing of internal unity. The undermining and dismantling of institutions is continuing, the prevalence of DISY cadres and supporters is imposed everywhere, values and the dignity of citizens is being violated. A conservative socio-economic policy against people’s interest is being imposed.
From its position as the main opposition party, AKEL struggles to defend and promote the correct policy on the Cyprus problem, to defend the democratic institutions and values and the citizen’s dignity, to rebuff the anti-popular social and economic policy and to defend the achievements of the working people. At the same time, AKEL is working to create the conditions for democratic Change that have become vitally necessary and which our people seek. Our people expect AKEL to play a leading role in the cause of Change and we should meet these expectations.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE 19TH CONGRESS OF AKEL
Each and every Congress of AKEL bears a particular importance for the further development of the Party itself and its militant activity and contribution. Given our Party’s influence in Cypriot society and the role it has played in Cypriot public life, every Congress of AKEL is, at the same time, by definition a significant political event for Cyprus.
The significance of the 19th Congress of AKEL is defined by the political parameters, in which the Congress is convened, by the issues it will discuss and the decisions it is called upon to make.
The 19th Congress of AKEL is convened in critical conditions for the Cyprus problem, where the dangers of a protracted deadlock or of the imposition of a solution that would differ by far from the spirit and letter of the UN resolutions and the high level agreements are more than evident. The Congress is called upon to reiterate the Party’s policy on the Cyprus problem, a policy that is correct, is based on principles and has the possibility to take us out of the present dangerous deadlocks and lead us to hopeful perspectives. The Congress will also evaluate Cyprus’ course to accession to he European Union in relation also to the developments in the Cyprus problem.
The 19th Congress is convened at a time when the right wing and extreme-right administration has fully disclosed its character, which is contrary to the people’s interests. The deadlocks in the country’s internal situation are deepening and the people become constantly more conscious of the need for Change. The Congress is called upon to evaluate and underline AKEL’s role as the main opposition party. It is called upon to define the framework within which the Left is going to continue the struggle for the defence of the interests and achievements of the working people and the broad popular strata. The 19th Congress is called upon to define the Party’s strategy for the 2003 Presidential elections, with the aim to bring about democratic Change and rid the country from the misfortune of the conservative administration that pursues a policy contrary to people’s interests.
Within the above framework the 19th Congress of AKEL is going to discuss and adopt a proposal for the modernization of Cypriot society, an important document that will be presented for discussion to the political and social forces of the country and society at large and will constitute the platform of the Party’s policy in view of the parliamentary and presidential elections.
The 19th Congress is going also to define the Party’s strategy and aims in the forthcoming parliamentary, municipal and local elections, the elections in the Pancyprian Refugee Committee and the School Boards.
The Party and the broader Popular Movement function in the framework of a society that promotes individualism, de-politicization and the turning away from organized struggle. All these influence negatively the Party’s level of organization; create dangers of slackening, and decreased voluntary contribution and self-interested promotion. The Congress is called upon to study ways by means of which we could fight these dangers and strengthen even more the effectiveness of the Party’s struggles and intervention in all fields of life in Cyprus.
Finally, the Congress is called upon to review international developments and the Party’s international relations as well as our intervention in the effort to coordinate progressive forces internationally in the effort against the imperialist new order and globalization, which is directed by the multinationals, aiming to serve their interests to the detriment of the peoples.
The Congress itself is going to be a forum of democracy and reflection, an approach of criticism and self-criticism of all issues, but also of comradeship. A Congress of resoluteness and militancy, which will once again show that the Cypriot Left is that renewed and modernized political and social force to which the Cypriot people can look for with confidence for a better future.
All the above project a Congress of great significance that will place its mark on the further renovating, modernizing and militant course of the Party, but also more broadly of the political and social process in Cyprus.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS AND THE INTERNATIONAL PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT
The coming of the year 2000 dissolved eventually the confusion that certain circles had sought to create by over-propagating, over-advertising and glorifying the so-called new world order. What is constantly being realized to a greater extent is that what has prevailed on the international political stage is not International Law and mutual respect in international relations but the right of the powerful, which in the specific case is the USA and its allies. The principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of independent and sovereign countries as well as the principle of respect of the territorial integrity of states, on which the world after the 2nd World War was based, tends today to be replaced by the arbitrariness of unconcealed interventions allegedly in the name of the defence of human rights and democracy. The criminal NATO aggression against Yugoslavia has been a tragic and striking example of this situation. The right of peoples to choose the path of their own development is also put in doubt by the major Western forces. The tendency on the part of the United States and its allies to control and side-line the United Nations Organization is a development that weakens the International Organization and bears great dangers for world peace and stability. The peoples become constantly more conscious of the fact that peace, freedom and social justice are principles that are not expressed through the prevalence of the new order. The sole real alternative for the progressive forces worldwide is resistance to the imperialist new order and the struggle for the restoration of International law in international relations.
The absence of “the opposite fear”, the “new order”, the overpowering, to a large extent, of the UN and the weakness of the Non-Aligned Movement negatively influence the peoples struggling for freedom and social progress, including the Cypriot people. The role entrusted to Turkey by its Western allies in the framework of the “new international order” as an advanced NATO outpost, is one of the basic factors for the regression witnessed on the Cyprus problem in recent years regress.
Globalization, which constitutes a natural process in the course of humanity’s development, favours, in the way it is being carried out, the multinationals and the big countries and leads to the destruction of tens of other countries, mainly of the “Third World”. Millions of people are led to hunger and destitution. The neo-liberal anti-popular economic model, the glorification of the market economy, which serves only the interests of the multinational companies, the constant attacks against the gains of the working people and the efforts to shrink the welfare state, the sharp rise in unemployment and many other things have worsened the economic situation of the working people even in the developed countries. It is clearly proved that capitalism is unable to free itself from its innate contradictions, which constantly reproduce social inequality and social injustice. The working people have begun to realize the deadlocks and illusions of neo-liberalism and have begun to react.
As a result the preconditions have been created for the left and progressive movement, there where it has been modernized and renewed without betraying basic principles, to make a come back with demands and to increase its influence among the people. At the same time it has started to regain its self-confidence, thus defending more dynamically and more decisively the values and principles which neo-liberalism mocks and violates.
The international meetings organized on the initiative of left parties also played a significant role in this direction. AKEL has its own substantive contribution in this effort.
On the basis of the facts that are shaped today, what should be done is the following:
- Encouraging and strengthening the efforts to upgrade the cooperation and coordination between Left and Progressive Parties on a regional and international level. AKEL will continue to undertake initiatives in this direction. The aim of such efforts will be to face the negative consequences on the peoples brought about by the new order and the globalization of economy.
- Active participation and taking of initiatives within the framework of the Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left in the European Parliament and the United Left in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The initiatives will aim at the Groups of the Left in Europe playing a more active role for a more democratic and socially just Europe, as well as in the promotion of the Cyprus problem and the accession course of Cyprus.
- Strengthening of and participation in the efforts for the creation of a European Left Party, in the framework of the European Union. That Party would play a coordinating role without its decisions to be, in any case, of a binding character, or have the ambition to be converted into a “guiding centre”.
- Upgrading of the efforts to strengthen the cooperation between Left and Progressive parties from West and East Europe.
THE CYPRUS PROBLEM
The current situation
In the five-year-period that has elapsed since the 18th Congress of AKEL, unfortunately, there has been no progress in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. On the contrary, we ascertain a regression and a clear effort to back down from the framework and the basis of a solution to the problem as defined by the United Nations Resolutions and the high-level agreements. The long drawn-out abeyance and the protracted deadlock in the Cyprus problem result in the consolidation of the fait accomplish created by the occupation and the distancing of the solution of the problem, while these factors bring the partition of Cyprus constantly nearer.
The fait accomplis of the invasion and occupation are being consolidated. Due to the influx of settlers on the one hand and the mass emigration of Turkish Cypriots on the other, the demographic character of the occupied areas as well as of Cyprus, has been dramatically altered. The assimilation of the occupied part of Cyprus by Turkey is being carried out at a fast pace. Ankara and Denktash pose the issue of recognition of a separate state, with the acceptance of “realities” as a first step, as a precondition for any progress. Since the summer of 1998 they already pose also officially, the issue of a confederal solution.
On the part of the United States, of Britain and other powerful Western countries, there is no will to exercise pressure on the Turkish side to alter its partitionist philosophy and its policy on the Cyprus problem. The leading Western countries tolerate Ankara’s and Denktash’s policy. Through various tactics for a kind of acceptance of the occupation regime, they encourage the unacceptable demands of the Turkish side that are contrary to the UN resolutions, thus strengthening its intransigence and cynicism and assist in the side-lining of the internationally accepted and safeguarded by United Nations resolutions framework of the solution of the problem. The events and backstage consultations that preceded the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate in December 1999 and June 2000 constitute the culmination of the deviation that has so fact occurred in the direction of satisfying the Turkish demands.
The current stage of the Cyprus problem began with the G8 declaration in June 1999 and the formulation that all issues could be put on the negotiating table and that the solution of the problem would take into consideration the UN Resolutions, instead of these resolutions being the basis of the solution. Those formulations, which were adopted also by the United Nations, offered Ankara and Denktash the possibility to put the issues of recognition and confederation without them considered as being outside the framework. Under these circumstances the proximity talks, as AKEL had foreseen, could not have prospects for success. The rounds of proximity talks held until now have confirmed this assessment. The procedure of the proximity talks has exhausted its possibilities. Substantive and direct talks should be held, after it is clarified and reiterated in the most official way that the basis of the talks and consequently the basis of the sought solution will be the United Nations Resolutions and the high-level agreements.
The responsibilities of the ruling circles
The regress in the Cyprus problem is not irrelevant with the policy pursued by the Clerides government and the Democratic Rally leadership. It is a policy that is characterized by inconsistency, retrogression, sensational moves for internal popular consumption, wishful thinking, erroneous evaluations and decisions.
In times of difficulty (e.g. events in Dherynia) the governing circles showed fear in assuming responsibility, avoided coming into confrontation with the nationalistic circles and left the situation to be led to the threshold of a fresh military adventure.
The “active volcano” policy, which ended in the fiasco of the Russian missile system S 300, was tested in practice and failed completely. Pursuing the «active volcano» policy the governing circles sought, as they declared, to force international interest for the solution to the Cyprus problem. Instead of this, however, the Republic of Cyprus found itself under blackmail and accusation, and in total isolation, a fact that permitted third parties to plan and impose proximity talks without any conditions and with all issues on the table. The demagogy on defense issues, which aimed at safeguarding the permanence of the right-wing and extreme-right in power, damaged the Cyprus cause.
The governing circles are also criticized for the thoughtless credulity they exhibited to the American and other assurances that a USA initiative of decisive importance for the solution of the Cyprus problem was to be manifested. While the greatly propagated American initiative was never itself manifested, the leadership of the Democratic Rally and Mr. Clerides with the help of the Americans themselves (statements by Albright on the eve of the elections) used it in their pre-election demagogy aiming at Clerides’ reelection.
As a result of harbouring illusions concerning the American assurances the Cypriot government showed a lack of alertness and passively followed of developments. In practice other factors, such as the Russian factor, which could play a balancing and preventative role in the moves to take the Cyprus problem away from the correct places, have been underestimated. At the same time, an effort was exerted to glorify the situation to give the impression that Clerides’ policy in the Cyprus problem was yielding results. The policy of active and preventive intervention, which AKEL was insistently calling for, along with the undertaking of specific political and diplomatic initiatives, was not pursued. As a rule, the official Cypriot side is surprised by events and seems incapable of intervening in developments that constantly worsen the position of Cyprus.
The government and the leadership of Democratic Rally also approached uncritically the initiative of the G8 countries (G7 plus Russia). They welcomed the G8 Statement including the formulation “all issues on the table”, which they interpreted at will. They even presented the G8 intervention as a manifestation of unprecedented international interest for the Cyprus problem and as a success of Clerides’ policy. Events that followed proved the governing circles wrong and justified the assessments and forecasts made by AKEL.
Insistence on Federation
The deadlock on the Cyprus problem for many years and the absence of perspectives for its quick solution on the basis of the UN resolutions and the high-level agreements brings about feelings of disappointment and permits the appearance or revival of wrong approaches to the Cyprus problem. For the first time voices in favour of confederation were heard – mainly in Greece but also in Cyprus – while on the other hand attacks against a federal solution intensified mainly on the part of the Archbishop and certain church leaders. Both approaches are detrimental. They objectively lead, despite their motives, to the consolidation of partition. Federation is the only alternative solution to partition. Abandoning the high-level agreements and the UN resolutions, which adopt federation, would have been a disastrous mistake. It would not lead to better prospects. On the contrary it would give the possibility to those scheming for partitioning solutions to promote such a solution.
Reiterating the principles of the solution.
The 19th Congress is called upon to reiterate AKEL’s position for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework and under the auspices of the UN, through bicommunal substantive talks and internationalization, the undertaking of initiatives by the Government of Cyprus and the utilization of every possibility offered in the international arena.
The solution of the Cyprus has to be found on the basis of the UN resolutions, the high level agreements and the principles of the Charter of the UN and International Law. This solution should provide for the withdrawal of the occupation troops and settlers, the restoration of the unity and territorial integrity of our country and the demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus. The possible guarantees ought to be broadened with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and a unilateral right to intervention should neither exist nor be interpreted as existing. The peace force that could probably be sent to Cyprus within the framework of the solution, should be a United Nations force and be under the command of the United Nations and under the supervision of the Security Council.
AKEL reiterates the Party’s adherence to a solution of a bicommunal and bi-regional federation, as well as its total opposition to any partitionist solutions.
We stress that the solution should respect and safeguard the human rights and freedoms of all Cypriots, including the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties.
The purely humanitarian issue of the missing persons should be solved, irrespective of the solution procedures of the political problem, by the verification of the fate of each and every of the missing persons in a well-documented and persuasive way.
AKEL emphatically, underlines the need for collective decisions and handling on the Cyprus problem within the framework of the National Council and the implementation of a correct policy without any risks, contradictions, experimentations and adventurism. The correct functioning of the National Council (NOTE: advisory body to the President, composed of the leaders of Parliamentary parties) is above all a matter of political will and depends greatly on the respect the President of the Republic of the time shows towards this institution.
Relations with Greece – Greek-Turkish relations
Greece continues to be Cyprus’ main support in the struggle to free Cyprus of the occupation and for the reunification of our country and people. AKEL approaches the relations between Greece and Cyprus under the perspective of the necessity for the biggest possible cooperation and coordination between them, as well as of the strengthening by every means of the state entity of the Republic of Cyprus.
In the past year and not irrespective of the procedures in the European Union, the climate in the Greek-Turkish relations has improved significantly. Guided by its firm policy for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem our Party views positively the development of relations between Greece and Turkey and the conversion of these relations to good neighbourly and cooperation relations. However, we consider, the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of principles, as a necessary precondition for the complete normalization of Greek-Turkish relations. We note also the danger of leaving the Cyprus problem on the side using the excuse that as a difficult problem it needs to be set aside not to obstruct the development of Greek-Turkish relations. We are obliged to ascertain that the position of Turkey gives the message that the occupation force seeks to use the development of Greek – Turkish relations in order to promote its partitionist policy in the European Union and internationally.
The Greek Government, of course, as well as the political forces in Greece, reassure that the Cyprus problem will not be left on the side, nor will there be a total normalization of Greek – Turkish relations without a prior settlement of the problem. Having this in mind, AKEL ascertains that the development of Greek – Turkish relations will go through critical stages even including the possibilities of this process being halted.
During the five year period that separates us from the 18th Congress demagogy on defence issues has reached new levels. The governing circles exploited to the full extent defence and rhetoric about the dogma (NOTE: the dogma of common defence area with Greece) to serve their party and election expediencies, disregarding the damage they caused to the cause of Cyprus and to defense itself. The issue of defence was also used to foster nationalism and concepts against federation.
Having nothing to do with a demagogical and nationalistic approach on defence issues, AKEL believes that the defence of the Republic of Cyprus is necessary to face the threat caused by the presence of the Turkish occupation troops, but also of any foreign threat against our country. Defence policy should, however, be subordinate to and serve the strategic aim of a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem, should not oppose the commonly accepted policy of rapprochement between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, be within the possibilities of the economy and should not affect Cyprus’ road of development.
Any tendency of exaggeration on defence issues, any effort of converting defence to a factor that allegedly overturns the balance of forces in the military sector and strengthens our negotiating position, any fostering of illusions over the possibility of a solution to the Cyprus problem by military means, any irresponsible expenditure, lead to the logic of militarization of the Cyprus problem, which is damaging and wrong.
The traumatic adventures on defence issues in the past five years and the dangerous deadlocks, which they led to, have showed the correctness of AKEL’s approaches on defense issues.
AKEL firmly believes that even in the unfavourable conditions created by Turkish intransigence and the so-called new world order, the possibilities for a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN resolutions and the high level agreements have not vanished. Cyprus has the obligation to constantly use these possibilities exercising correct, responsible but also demanding policy. A policy that should have nothing to do with contradictions, wavering and adventurism and that would be based and support the basic principles of solution to our problem. We have no other alternative but to continue the struggle for a peaceful, just and mutually acceptable solution of the Cyprus problem.
CYPRUS AND the EUROPEAN UNION
In the resolution of the 18th Congress regarding the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, it is emphatically noted: “… on the precondition that the EU would help the correct resolution of the Cyprus problem, that the whole of Cyprus accedes to the European Union and important social and economic achievements of our people would be safeguarded, AKEL would be prepared to speak in favour of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union”.
During the interim period between the two Congresses two important events took place. The first was the Luxembourg Decision of 1995, according to which Cyprus began accession negotiations and Greece uplifted its veto regarding Turkey’s Customs Union. The second important development was the Helsinki Decision of December 1999, by which Turkey was upgraded to a candidate country for accession. In exchange, according to the same decision, the solution of the Cyprus problem will not be a precondition for accession. Nevertheless, on the same issue, it is noted that all relevant factors will be considered.
The common feature of both decisions was that Turkey obtained the Customs Union, and the upgrading to a candidate country for accession, without itself giving anything in exchange with regard to the Cyprus problem. This development was not unavoidable. As it is mentioned in the resolution of the 18th Congress, “The right sort of handling and a consistent and constructive attitude on the Greek Cypriot side towards the initiatives of the UN Secretary-General, in such a way that if they do not succeed, Turkey’s intransigence, will be taken down, is the surest way to strengthen Cyprus in its course for accession to the EU. This will also avert the real dangers of our side becoming a prisoner of this course”.
The unstable policies of the Clerides’ Government allowed, inter alia, responsibility to be unfairly attributed to the Greek Cypriot side as well for the deadlock in the Cyprus problem on the part of the international community. This development weakened our position that, from the moment when Denktashand Turkey hindered progress to the Cyprus problem, it is unfair and counter productive to condition the accession of Cyprus by the solution of its political problem. Under these circumstances it was not possible to achieve the initiation of the accession negotiations and, for the latter to materialise, Greece uplifted its veto to Turkey’s Customs Union.
With regard to the candidate status given to Turkey, AKEL still believes that it should have been connected with the achievement of progress to the Cyprus problem and not with an ambiguous and open to various interpretations promise that Cyprus will accede regardless of the solution of its political problem. The European Union itself, with Council decisions since 1990, had expressly connected the European course of Turkey with progress in the Cyprus problem. The argument that if Turkey was granted the status of a candidate it would have become more constructive regarding the Cyprus problem, has proven to be unfounded by the recent developments. The same argument was invoked when Turkey was granted the Customs Union. Following that development, Turkey officially declared the abandonment of the federal solution and its adherence to a confederal solution, a stand that it still maintains to this day.
The accession to the European Union entails a strategic goal for Ankara and for this reason it was realistic for the Government to insist on progress being made on the Cyprus problem as a precondition for the granting of accession status to Turkey, being Turkey’s immediate goal. In turn, possible progress towards the solution to the Cyprus problem would set aside the only major obstacle in our European course. Thus, an important opportunity was lost but, what matters at this stage, is what is to be done from now on.
There is still hope that the accession process will help the solution of the Cyprus problem but this can only be achieved on two preconditions:
Firstly, that the European Union should not slip into misinterpretations of the Helsinki Decision and accept Cyprus as full member regardless of the solution of its political problem. And, secondly, accession should not relate only to the free areas but to the whole jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus, regardless of whether part of its area remains until then under Turkish occupation. Only in such instance will Turkey face the dilemma either to cooperate for a federal solution before accession, which would be the most desirable development, or the occupied areas from the moment of accession to be considered as an area of the European Union and, therefore, eliminate the possibilities of a wider international recognition of the pseudostate.
For the above mentioned goals to be achieved and for the accession course to operate as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem, it is of the essence for the Government to reassess its priorities and focus its efforts on the solution of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements.
AKEL repeats that it will not consent to the accession of the free areas only, nor will it consent to a bad solution for the sake of accession. We are convinced that the accession of the free areas will only signify the acceptance of the division, whereas a bad solution will not be improved with the accession. As it is similarly underlined in the 18th Congress Resolution, “The political dimension of the course of accession and its contribution to the struggle for a just solution to the Cyprus problem remains for AKEL the primary and dominant issue. It is clear for our Party that its final stand on any accession agreement, will be made having as its basic criterion whether or not this agreement helps and does not contradict a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of principles. We shall not hesitate to oppose a process or agreement that would, from our point of view, move in a different direction”.
The turkish cypriot community
AKEL’s interest for the living conditions and the development of the Turkish Cypriot Community is not founded only on the fact that it is one of the two basic Communities that will constitute the federation in a solution of the Cyprus problem, but mainly on the Party’s character as the voice of all Cypriots and of the people of Cyprus as a whole.
The living conditions of the Turkish Cypriots remain difficult. The various “governmental” formations that have been tested in the illegal state did not bring the solution to the socio-economic problems that the Turkish Cypriot Community is facing. Unemployment remains high, leading thousands of Turkish Cypriots to migration. According to recently published data, during the last few years, 50,000 Turkish Cypriots have migrated, many of whom are university graduates who, faced with unemployment, continue to live in Turkey even after the completion of their studies.
However, the biggest problem is the gradual integration of the Turkish Cypriot Community by Turkey, which finds expression in the economic, political and social spheres.
In the political sphere, the change of the demographic composition of the population in favour of the settlers and the enormous presence of the occupation army are used as the means for promoting Turkish policy. Turkey’s intervention reached its highest during the last Presidential “elections”, while it is apparent that the “Government” in the occupied areas is materialising decisions taken in Turkey.
In the economic sphere, the use of the Turkish lira as the official currency, the design and implementation of large structural works by Turkey, and the policy of reducing the production sector, resulted in the civil servants constituting one third of the economically active population, thus preserving the dependency of the Turkish Cypriots community on Turkey.
In the social sphere, the Cypriot identity is being attacked in all aspects of life. It is indicative of the latter that the Turkish newspapers have a wider circulation than the Turkish Cypriot ones.
Unfortunately, the reduction of the electoral power of the progressive forces, the forces supporting the solution of the Cyprus problem and peaceful coexistence, has had a negative effect in dealing with the problems of the Turkish Cypriot Community.
Regardless of the above mentioned, and without underestimating the role played by Turkish State policy on Cyprus, and the influences of its government in the formation of Turkish Cypriot political structures, there are still strong forces in the Turkish Cypriot Community who under very difficult circumstances insist on a federal solution rejecting the confederation, fighting against the policy of integration of the occupied areas by Turkey, and wishing for the reunion of Cyprus and our people.
THE STRUGGLE AGAINST CHAUVINISM AND RAPPROCHEMENT
Nationalism and chauvinism bear a big share of the responsibility for the tragedy that befell our people. The other factors – the British colonial policy of “divide and rule”, the expansionist policy of the militarists in Ankara, the policy of American Imperialism – would probably not have been able to succeed in their aims if they had no assistance from within. Chauvinism became also an obstacle in the struggle of the Cypriot people for a patriotic front of Greeks and Turks that would rebuff foreign conspiracies and safeguard the real independence of Cyprus.
Nationalism is, unfortunately, a phenomenon, which was fostered and continues to be fostered in both communities. In the Greek Cypriot community upsurge of nationalism was noted particularly after the right wing and the extreme wing came to power, threatening to lead to new “creditable to the nation” but certainly disastrous adventures. Although nationalism in the Greek Cypriot community is not usually manifested by extreme expressions, nonetheless it should not be considered less dangerous, since for this particular reason the people find it more difficult to pinpoint and reject it.
The relations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities constitute a constituent element of the Cyprus problem. Anything that widens the gap between the two communities – and nationalism is one of the defining factors – works in the direction of the consolidation of partition. Anything that fights partition, as rapprochement does, is truly patriotic. Hence, the struggle of AKEL against nationalism and for rapprochement, emanates first of all and mainly from deep patriotism.
It is imperative that both communities are convinced that the solution we are searching for is a solution for the whole of Cyprus and for all Cypriots; that as much as we are both defending our national identity, our language and traditions, we should defend even stronger our common identity as Cypriots, our common traditions and common history.
Although the creation of a climate of confidence between the two communities does not by itself lead to a solution of the Cypriot problem, it however contributes decisively to the understanding of the concerns, reflections and expectations of one community by the other, a fact that strengthens substantially the perspective of viability of a just solution of the Cyprus problem.
The contacts between the two communities and much more the common action strengthens the feeling of unity of the state and people of Cyprus and reverses the Denktash propaganda and policy as well as of all supporters of so-called “pure solutions”, that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots cannot allegedly live together, that they hate each other to death, and should, therefore, live separately.
The possibility of the Turkish Cypriots to influence developments depends to a great extent also on the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side. If the actions of the Greek Cypriots gain the Turkish Cypriots’ confidence recognizing also their legitimate rights, if they convince that our intentions towards them have nothing to do with what the Denktash propaganda attributes to us, then a strong lever of pressure in favour of Cyprus, which neither Ankara not the occupation regime can ignore, will have been won.
The rapprochement policy demands the undertaking of specific initiatives and actions, which are addressed to the Turkish Cypriots, or else it is limited to declarations and slogans. It demands also the harmonization of the whole complex of our policy with the aims we set for a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem. The militarization of the problem, the nationalist outbursts, the pro-enosis (NOTE: union with Greece) rhetoric and attacks against federation do not only undermine rapprochement but also the perspectives of our struggle to put an end to the occupation and reunify our country.
AKEL assesses that the rapprochement movement, in the establishing of which out Party played an instrumental role, has started, after long and determined struggles, to attain its own dynamics. Through meetings with Turkish Cypriot political parties and organizations, exchanges of cultural groups in mass events, seminars, publications and many other initiatives, the Left marked very early the effort to maintain alive and strengthen the bonds between the two communities.
We consider that the mass participation in the rapprochement events constitutes a specific response to the nationalist calls and insults against all who defend the need for communication between the two communities, as well as to the effort of foreign centers to overpower the rapprochement movement. Our intervention will have to reply in a specific way to attempts to take off rapprochement its political character and content and promote an apolitical approach, which perceives the Cyprus problem as an issue of psychological distance between the two communities that has to be bridged.
AKEL has in the past repeatedly proposed specific rapprochement measures. We struggled for rapprochement to become a constituent part of governmental policy and be adopted by the political leadership and the great majority of the people. We worked consistently for the meetings between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, parties and organizations, both on multilateral and bilateral levels, to become established and accepted by the public opinion as a necessary forum of contact between the two communities, submitted specific proposals in this direction at a meeting of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties, most of which have been accepted. We have to study more decisively the way to implement these proposals as well as the initiatives that a number of organizations and organized groups have undertaken.
Clerides’ administration, as the administration of the Democratic Rally (DISY), of the right wing and the unrepentant extreme right, as the administration, which expresses and represents the selfish interests of big capital, is driven by a conservative, anti-popular philosophy and characterized by an autocratic and arbitrary mentality. The second five-years- term of Clerides’s government has proven to be much worse than the first, bearing in mind that what is being implemented today is that which has been planned and worked out during the years 1993-1998.
The DISY government puts above anything else the serving of petty party interests to such an extent that the complete party domination of the state, in the sense of the conquering and taking over of the state machinery, the civil service and the semi –governmental organizations, have reached such unprecedented levels. The discrimination being conducted against the followers of the Left is comparable to that of the Giorgatzis period (NOTE: a fiercely anti-communist Interior Minister who was “famous” for hounding the Left). Discrimination is also being carried out against democratic forces, forces that supported Makarios and resisted the coup d’ etat. Favouritism has reached its highest level whilst institutions are shamelessly being disregarded and humiliated. On the questions regarding the recent history of Cyprus the governing circles continue to vindicate and reward Grivas, EOKA B’, the coup and the coupists. The Clerides government continues to be in contradiction to the rule of law with its insistence in its decision concerning the “62”(NOTE: a number of civil servants charged with their involvement in the 1974 fascist coup), which the Supreme Court judged to be illegal and unconstitutional.
The proven incapability of the government, the bad administration of the state, the lack of vision and planning, disorganization, the image of a government where each minister seems to function independently, trying to promote himself and arbitrarily, are characteristics identified even by means of political surveys, which the governing party itself carries out. The argument that the government has weaknesses in popularizing the work it carries out, is weak. The truth is that the present government has little to show, since its sole concern has been to keep power through the pleasing of individual and party interests.
During the DISY administration the social reality in Cyprus is characterized by a crisis of values and corruption that take constantly larger dimensions. Individualism and the strive for individual distinction at any cost, have been converted to a maximum social value. Scandals, organized crime, drugs, prostitution and corruption dismantle the social web. One should also add to the above the spreading of the mentality of quick and easy profit, which is fostered also by the way the stock exchange functions.
Social causes of the crisis of values and the responsibility of the governing circles
The generative causes of these phenomena are found in our social system itself, which glorifies profit, commercializes everything, underrates and humiliates moral and spiritual values and ideals. The negative phenomena of the capitalist society are manifested even more intensively in Cyprus, due to the fact that our country experienced a sharp economic development within only two decades, without this development to be accompanied by the relevant and necessary rise of the cultural level in the broad meaning of the term.
In its assessment AKEL does not disregard the influence of international environment. In the conditions of the so-called globalization, the “models” of the American way of life are transferred and flood our planet as an epidemic.
The social causes and the influence of international environment, however, do not clear the conservative right wing government of its own very heavy responsibilities for the situation that prevails in our internal front. By the government circle’s example, the lack of vision and the absence of human centered policy, their insufficiency, the expediencies, favouritism, the taking over of state machinery by the governing party and partiality, they have created an ideal environment through which the bad side of Cypriot society is produced and reproduced. Crime, corruption, scandals and unruliness flourish. The current governing circles do not posses the political will and are unable to face the negative phenomena, which torture the Cypriot society.
The confrontation of ideas and arguments, the defense and claiming of rights – even by dynamic ways in the framework of legality, political stands and contradictions are elements of a healthy democratic society. In Cyprus, under the DISY administration, contradictions often take an aggravated character and cause unnecessary disputes in the internal front. In most cases it is the government itself that caused aggravation and disputes. It is the despotic way in which the governing circles take decisions, the arbitrary way they try to implement their decisions and the disregard they show towards the popular feeling. There are numerous examples: the restoration of the “62”, the conflict with the University, the dismantling of the Boards of the Semi-Governmental organizations, the sweeping interventions in the police, desalination, Akamas, taxation, Automatic Cost of Living Adjustment, the conflict with the Local Authorities for different reasons, etc.
The Cypriot society has the strength to fight against the negative phenomena torturing our internal front and fight successfully the battle against corruption, crime, drugs and scandals. Under an administration of democratic progressive forces the situation can be faced and improved drastically. This is what AKEL will strive for by the Change in the country’s government. In the present conditions of the country’s administration by the right wing and the extreme right, AKEL will also continue to have an active intervention and undertake initiatives mainly in two directions. Firstly in the direction of revealing, denouncing and correcting the wrongs aiming always at the creation of resistance pockets within the society, in order to make the continuation of the current unacceptable situation difficult if not impossible. The mobilization of the organized groups and the popular factor is going to be of major importance for the achievement of this aim. Secondly, in the direction of the institutional safeguarding and practical control of meritocracy issues, issues of correct administration and equal treatment of citizens, that concerns job opportunities, promotions, tenders, etc. Our aim is to set a specific framework and limit to the largest possible degree the discrete power of the governing circles.
Our role as opposition
AKEL is going to remain the main opposition party until the time we succeed to bring about the change to the country’s administration. Taking into account the specific conditions in Cyprus and the course of the Cyprus problem, we can ascertain that basically our Party meets the duties emerging from its role in opposition. The Party should continue exercising strict but always responsible and well-documented opposition putting forward positions and alternatives proposals. The responsible opposition with positions, shows in practice the responsibility and seriousness that characterize our Party, makes things more difficult for the governing circles and increases the prestige and influence, which AKEL has among the broader strata.
At the same time we have to underline that there is room for improvement of our opposition role. AKEL’s intervention in the political, social and economic developments in the country can and should be made more planned, more timely and more effective. The Congress has to give guidance to the new Central Committee to upgrade our responsible opposition activity.
AKEL’S PROPOSAL FOR THE MODERNIZATION OF CYPRIOT SOCIETY
The need for modernization of Cypriot society comes up today more imperative than ever. In the same imperative way, however, the need comes up for this modernization to have a human centered character and aim at the improvement of the quality of life of the Cypriot citizen.
AKEL considers that the modernization of Cypriot society will be achieved by radical and courageous changes in the institutions, the structures and concepts that prevail in society.
The state, its mission, functioning and relation with the citizen is a major issue. AKEL believes in the social state, the welfare state, which participates actively in the social and economic life, takes care of and caters for its citizens, particularly the non-privileged and the economically weaker strata of the people. The social role of the state should be maintained and strengthened.
In regards to the state mechanism, such changes have to be made to its functioning, which will limit bureaucracy to the largest extent, minimize the distance dividing today the impersonal, to a large extent arrogant, untouchable by the citizens state, and upgrade the quality of services which it offers and the speed and efficiency of this offering. Modernization has to aim at a state-citizen relationship, where the citizen will trust the state, will feel it close to him and consequently will defend it. On the other hand the state will serve the citizen and will approach him respecting the needs and his / her dignity.
The semi-governmental sector and more specifically the semi governmental organizations also play a major role in the socio-economic reality of Cyprus. The semi-governmental organizations constitute a property of the people, which was obtained and broadened with the contribution of the tax-paying citizen. The semi-governmental organizations contribute actively to the economic life of the country and at the same time they carry out a significant social work. The nature of the semi-governmental organizations as organizations of common utility, which belong to society as a whole has to be maintained also in the future. This is why AKEL is against the scheming to degenerate and sell them off to big capital. The institutional regime and the functioning of the semi-governmental organizations need deep, radical changes, to become capable to face successfully the challenges of the market and of competition, rid themselves of bureaucracies and stop being the place where party and other expediencies are being served.
Correct administration and meritocracy should characterize both the public and the semi-governmental sector. Correct administration and meritocracy are safeguarded by political and social control and by the creation of that new institutional framework, which will safeguard the transparency of procedures and the rights of the citizen and will fight arbitrariness, favouritism and clientism.
Radical reforms and deep change having man always at their center, are needed in the sectors of education, health, social welfare, culture, environment, sport, etc, as well the sectors which concern significant layers of the population as are the working people, the peasants, the youth, women, retired people, middle strata and free lance professionals. In our proposals we shall include also measures to face the major social problems, as are those of drugs and criminality.
AKEL rejects the neo-conservative philosophy, which interprets modernization in labour relations as the shrinking of the rights and benefits of the working people and aims at the limiting of organized struggle. This approach is the worst anachronism since it revives times when the working people were preys in the hands of the employers’ arbitrariness. Modernization in the social sector cannot but be based on and promote the principle of social justice.
The 19th Congress of AKEL is going to formulate a comprehensive proposal for the modernization of Cypriot society and is going to present for discussion before the political forces, the social organizations, the simple man in the street and the Cypriot society as a whole. The cause of modernization of society is an issue of all its players. The role of governing is, however, defining. Therefore, the real modernization with man at its centre can come and be promoted only by a government of the democratic and progressive forces of this country, towards which AKEL is gong to work with all its forces.
THE 2001 ELECTIONS FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The parliamentary election is a prominent political event as it decides the composition of the legislative body; the policies of the parties are presented to the people and compared; the strength and correlation of the different formations are ascertained and evaluated particularly in view of the presidential election.
Since 1990 our Party has adopted and implemented successfully the policy of widening both its lists and its parliamentary group with personalities of the left, non-partisan and centre democratic space making up in 1991 and in 1996 the victorious electoral lists of AKEL-Left-New Forces.
This policy was appreciated and supported by quite broad strata of the population and by the party membership, as it expressed and expresses the mature political needs of the specific period giving the possibility of expression and representation to groups of people who though were not party members were supporting it.
The forthcoming election will have its own intense characteristics and peculiarities:
- With new people in leading posts and in the collective bodies of parties they will use to the extreme the slogans of European orientation, modernization and reconstruction, in an attempt to gain ground.
- The largest possible broadening of the lists will be attempted by including personalities active in the political, academic, arts, cultural, press and sports fields, having as the main objective to keep and increase their percentage.
- The pre-election campaign will be characterized by the spending of huge sums that are going to play the major role, by using all experience and methods of marketing and influencing public opinion, by a hail of political advertisement – televised and printed – of parties and candidates.
- All political moves before, during and after the elections will be made in consideration of the presidential elections.
Given the above we should:
- Formulate the broadest possible lists representative of the strength and prestige of AKEL and the Left.
- Reiterate and expand the policy of widening including in our lists an even larger number of distinguished candidates from among the new forces.
- Plan in time, an original and inventive electoral campaign using the necessary knowledge and available professionalism. A contemporary and radical election platform has to be a central point in this.
- All forces of the popular movement should be mobilized and placed in the services of the elections immediately after the Congress, while the necessary organizational, economic and technical preparation should be made in time.
OTHER FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS
The election of municipal authorities is constantly taking a larger political importance and attracts the interest of the citizens to the extent that the institution of local self-government is appreciated and acquires more powers from the central state administration. At the same time an expression of confidence and readiness to support able and successful mayors and municipal councilors is observed, in a way that goes beyond party limits.
AKEL has a rich tradition, earlier in the Popular municipal councils but also more recent, which it has to continue and enrich. The success of the 1996 political co-operations as well as the promotion and defense of the interests and objectives of local self-government should be continued. Our lists should be broadened further expressing the whole amplitude of AKEL-Left-New Forces having as a basic criterion the presentation and election of worthy local leaders.
Local Community elections
Elections of local community councilors are to be held for the first time on the basis of the new modernized legislation, which our Party and the parliamentary group of AKEL-Left-New Forces played a leading role in formulating and passing through the House of Representatives.
The major problems of the local communities, as for example the balanced development and welfare of the inhabitants, the improvement of the peasantry’s income, the maintenance of the natural and built up environment in the countryside, will be the basic aims which our electoral effort should seek to serve.
The policy of cooperation and broadened lists will be again at the centre or our electoral tactics, taking each time seriously into account the local peculiarities.
The 2003 Presidential elections will be a very significant electoral confrontation, the result of which will decide the issue of power for the next years. The country can no longer bear the present administration and the misfortune that goes with it. The 2003 elections offer the opportunity to get rid of the present conservative administration with policies against popular interests, and elect a democratic government the policy of which in all sectors will respond to the expectations of the people and the needs to our times. This is our main strategic goal concerning power, which AKEL reiterates and underlines.
The democratic change can be achieved through the cooperation of the country’s democratic, progressive forces. The new Central Committee that will be elected by the 19th Congress should be mandated by the Congress to exert every effort in order to make this cooperation possible and to elect the country’s next President and next government.
The cooperation of the country’s democratic and progressive forces has to be based on a commonly agreed program. The positions on the Cyprus problem will again have a prominent place in the program. Equal importance, however, should be given to the issues of internal administration, correct administration and social and economic policy so as to safeguard that we shall have an administration in favour of the people.
Our positions in the consultations and soundings to elaborate the common program, which will be made at the suitable time, will emerge from AKEL’s proposal for the modernization of the Cypriot society, which the 19th Congress is going to adopt. Our proposal for the modernization of the society will be submitted for discussion to the political and social forces of the country and to the Cypriot society as a whole.
Concerning the candidate President, AKEL wishes that the unity of the progressive democratic forces is expressed in this person in the best possible way, that electoral victory is safeguarded as well as the correct administration of the country in favour of the people. Within this framework AKEL does not exclude a priori any choice from the progressive and democratic background.
AKEL reaffirms the position that irrespective of who is finally going to be the candidate President, if elected AKEL would claim participation in the government.
The organizational state of affairs
The party and its organizational state of affairs are of those issues, which have a prominent place in every Congress, as a lot depends on the degree of readiness and response of the organizational mechanism towards the implementation of decisions.
The 18th Congress dealt with the issue in depth and ratified the decisions of the Pancyprian organizational Conference (9 –10 July 1994), which constitute the guidelines of our organizational work. Among other things, guidelines are given also for the resistance to negative phenomena that are born and reproduced within the framework of the consumerist society we live in and are recycled in different ways to members, even cadres, of our party.
In the period under review it is ascertained that a relatively intensive effort of improvement in all directions was started and in the course was intensified.
The normal and efficient functioning of the bodies, the Auxiliary Bureaus right down to the party base group bureaus, was a fundamental concern and certain partial progress has been achieved.
The new guiding body of the Rural Area Committee (RAC), which was established by the 18th Congress, functioned successfully in all Districts.
Departing from the given defining role of the bodies from the top right to the bottom of the party structure, every opportunity should be used to strengthen them and to exert continuous efforts to improve further their functioning for “a more timely, more valid and efficient intervention in the political, social and economic developments of the country”. (CC Plenum – November 1999).
The peculiarities as well as the possibilities presented by the Party’s branches both in Britain and Greece, call for better supervision and increased attention from the part of the Party’s CC.
In the strife to curb and eradicate the negative phenomenon of self-motivated promotion, certain indecision is noted, which definitely has to be overcome by persuasion, patience, consistency but also by the taking of specific measures if need be, which are provided for in the Party constitution and regulations of functioning.
Collectivity is at high levels. However, in this field there is room for further development all over the party structure.
However, in relation with the decentralization of the work and the voluntary contribution, though a lot of effort was exerted the results were not the desired ones. In certain bodies and party organizations outstanding achievements are noted. The inclusion in the category of constantly more bodies and party organizations presupposes systematic and hard effort.
The good example of the cadres at all levels, there where there was one, functioned positively. This element, which was once prevailing, has to be brought back, as by this means too it is possible to attract more comrades to our daily practical work and activity. It is true, however, that in pre-election periods a large number of cadres, members even of party friends is mobilized a fact, which also has to be maintained and developed as much as possible.
In the vital chapter of promotion of new cadres positive development is noted. It simply the needs that call for the presence of an even larger number from the top to the bottom.
Particular attention should be given to mobilizing women in all party levels a fact that will prove useful in more than one ways.
The simultaneous promotion of certain duties and the coordination between bodies, base groups, even individuals, was at the centre of attention of our organizational mechanism. Not much has been achieved. An even more intense effort has been exerted this year. Steps have been made. However, we are still far from what has to be done but also of what we are able to do. In this direction, the tendency to postpone has to be fought, and measures be taken in time for the implementation of the duties in the framework defined by the given timetable.
The implementation of the annual organizational plan of the CC is the promotion in practice, through goals and numbers, of essential broader pursuits. In the period under review, we have had achievements in various aspects of the plan and particularly in the fund raising campaign of the CC. On the contrary, significant weakness has been observed in the solution of circulation problems of the daily “Haravghi” and signing up new subscribers.
The need arises for the more decisive promotion of absolutely all aspects of the plan within defined time limits, of attaining the targets and reaching higher levels, even if they are considered “diachronic” objectives. Particular emphasis should be given to the new members, mainly from the youth strata, and to their assimilation a fact that will help drastically in the age renewal and numerical strengthening of the party’s potential.
Noble emulation was also used to a great extent in order to promote the plan. It can and should, however, be used even better in the future.
Success varies concerning the mobilization of party members, friends and supporters in various events. There are events, mainly to mark anniversaries, where extra effort is needed to bring about their success. There have been, however, many events that were a success. Significant role is played by the correct choice of the subject and the timing. As an example we can cite the mass response of the public to the call of the Cyprus Peace Council to participate in the May 1999 Peace March.
We cannot accept easily failures in this field of action since the consequences are multilaterally negative. We, therefore, have to feel the pulse of the masses on the one hand, and at the same time dare and organize in the right way our every move and event.
The contact with the people is a decisive element in the course of our activity. In this direction we have acted in an organized way and have had successes. The possibilities are limitless. The further broadening of these contacts is necessary at the places of living, work and rest.
The party base group is– should be– the main lever in this case too. The party base group has to know well its surroundings in order to be able to play correctly its complex role (political, social, economic, organizational), it should have a well-intended entity.
Therefore, the need for a regular and efficient functioning of the party base group and the enriching of the content of its work is a permanent task. Each cadre has in this direction his/her responsibility.
The course of modernization and renewal, which our party chose long ago, is constantly broadened and enriched, because it is inborn in it, it represents the new, the innovative, the human.
The ideological and political unity, which is to be witnessed in the party ranks, makes it more enduring in the difficult times brought about by the conservative administration of our country, and more able in playing its historical role. This unity is strengthened and consolidated by the presence and development of spiritual unity that is built through struggles, of comradely friendly relations, through understanding and mutual respect.
In the period under review, our people has opposed the handling and mentality of Clerides’ government, rejected its policy which is against popular interests, and looks up to AKEL for the role it can play in changing the situation. The cadres and members of AKEL who serve our people with fervour, are called upon to upgrade their contribution to the degree necessary for the needs of the party, the people and the country, so as to play our role in a better way and be fully prepared.
AKEL’s intervention in the mass groups of specialized interest
Our party has always paid great attention and given special significant to the mass groups of specialized interest, beyond the popular mass organizations, because it recognizes the role they can play in Cypriot society. Now a days, these groups are numerous and are to be found everywhere; on a local, regional, district level and all over Cyprus.
In quite a few cases our Party has helped in different ways the development and distinction of such groups, professional – trade union, sport, cultural and other.
The members, cadres even supporters of AKEL by their political criterion, their natural interest in social affairs and their activity, often become leading factors of such groups of specialized interest.
Our Party representatives in such groups enjoy appreciation and respect for the correct policy they represent, their seriousness, honesty and activity. At times, the groups themselves seek this intervention. For this reason the representation of the Party, officially or unofficially, covers a large spectrum of these groups, on different levels.
The organized party factions in professional – trade union areas also play a significant role with outstanding successes.
However, inadequacies, weaknesses and omissions are noted and planning, tactics and coordination from top to bottom are required to overcome them. The leading bodies as well as the party base group have to deal with these issues in a specific way.
Whether we participate or no, the possibilities and needs in the various mass groups of specialized interest are given. Let us operate in an even better way. By decentralizing the work and disposing time we should intervene in an even better way and in more areas, upgrade our role there where it is needed.
The daily “Haravgi”
“Haravgi”, as our Party’s daily voice, is always at the centre of attention of the leading bodies and of the Party in general. The constant improvement of the paper’s content and presentation on the one hand, and the stable increase of its circulation on the other, are permanent objectives.
Certainly, the content, quality and presentation of the paper play a serious role in relation to its circulation. Being a journalistic product the paper should by itself be attractive for the reader to buy it. On the other hand, however, the circulation and studying of “Haravgi”, particularly by the party members and cadres, is at the same time an ideological, political and organizational issue.
The negative phenomenon of slackening is influencing also the issue of “Haravgi”. In addition to that, the large number of Mass Media, and of electronic ones indeed, with a lot of information programs and debates, creates the wrong impression of overall information, and consequently the wrong concept that buying and studying “Haravgi” on a systematic basis is a redundancy. However, for the Party member, even for the friend of the Party, studying “Haravgi” on a daily basis cannot be replaced by following any other of the mass media. Only by “Haravgi can the members of AKEL, even the citizens at large, be briefed” comprehensively, fully and correctly of the Party’s positions on all issues affecting Cypriot society and the struggle to promote these positions. The member of AKEL has to have this daily information in order to be able to play correctly his/her role in society. It is also necessary for the party member’s immediate surroundings to have this briefing, since from the AKEL member’s immediate surroundings begins the broader circle of the Left and of the democratic people who stand by us.
Becoming conscious of the need to buy and study “Haravgi” daily is a permanent ideological and political duty, which is necessary to foster constantly in the bodies of the Party starting from the CC and ending up in the party base organizations.
The spreading of our voice and the increase of its circulation is an organizational duty which has, however a significant political and ideological content. The circulation of “Haravgi” by a press agency should not and cannot substitute our own duty to convey if possible everywhere the Party’s voice. The organizing of campaigns to increase the circulation of “Haravgi”, the participation of the whole party membership and the personal example of the cadres in these campaigns, the specific and planed work in order to make regular subscribers, the solution of circulation problems should be constantly at the centre of attention of all party bodies, at the centre, the districts and locally.
The need to continuously upgrade the content and presentation of “Haravgi” for it to respond to social development and the contemporary demands of information, and of analysis of the policy the positions and proposals of the Party are imperative. The management and all contributors of the newspaper should work permanently, taking seriously into consideration the views of the Party members and friends, in order to bring about the further improvement of “Haravgi’s” content, its quality and presentation.
In the period under review, since the previous Congress of AKEL, steps forward have been made concerning the broadening and strengthening of AKEL’s international relations. The fact that the parties of the Left worldwide have started to re-organize after the problems caused by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Community of Socialist States in Europe, has contributed to the above.
On the bases of the new formulated facts, the objectives of AKEL for the next five-years-period have been formulates as follows:
- Continuation of the effort for the further upgrading and broadening of the Party’s international relations. The aims of this effort are still:
- a) The promotion of the Cyprus problem on an international level;
- b) The policy-making on international issues;
- c) The briefing of the leadership, the cadres and the members of AKEL as well as the whole of the Cypriot people on international developments;
- d) The development of cooperation of the left and in general of progressive parties on international and regional levels aiming to face the so-called new order and the globalization of economy.
The extent of our relations with each separate party will be defined on the basis of principles and common interests.
- Further development of our relations with the left andProgressive parties of East Europe and of Russia in particular.
- The development of our relations with the parties of the European Left is also within our priorities, given the role the European Union plays today. Also of importance is the issue of collecting information and data that will help our Party in formulating more comprehensive and concise views and positions on the accession course and the accession of Cyprus in the European Union. Hence, we have to use more our relations with the left and progressive parties of the EU member-states, but also with the various bodies of the EU.
- A significant aspect of our work is the meeting of the parties of the Left from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, which has as its main aim the contribution to the efforts for the settlement of the Cyprus problem. The effort, which started a few years ago, has to continue and be intensified.
- Use the seminars and symposiums abroad in order to facilitate the further specialization of our cadres.
- Further upgrading of the International Relations Bureau cooperation with our Parliamentary Group and the Organizations of the Popular Movement.
- Continuation of the initiatives to organize international meetings in Cyprus aiming at the upgrading of the cooperation of the left parties, the greater coordination between them and the facing of specific problems.
By its policy and its positions, the initiatives it takes on international issues and the successes it achieves in the country, AKEL is highly appreciated in the international left movement. This gives us the possibility to develop further our international activity, a possibility that we should use constantly and in the best way. Left and progressive parties from abroad consider the experience and practice of our Party worthy for study and reflection.
The ideological education of the party members and cadres remains one of our most fundamental duties, which attains an even greater significance in the contemporary conditions. In an era when the ruling ideology exploits all the means at its disposal in order to prevail everywhere, attempts to present itself as the allegedly contemporary way of thinking and erodes even the forces, which want to be placed in the broader Left, the ideological instruction of the Party members and cadres is a necessary precondition for maintaining the Party’s character as the expression of the interests of the working people and the simple man in the street with a vision of humane and democratic socialism. It is a necessary precondition for keeping and upgrading the militancy and efficiency of our Party.
We live in a society and in an era where the imperialist “new order” and the globalization of the multinational companies promote the concept on the end of ideologies and the erasing of the borders between the left and the right, the distancing from politics, the indifference about organized action and individualism. This situation affects also our party life creating phenomena of slackening, decreased voluntary contribution, indifference and self-interested promotion. The intensity of our ideological work constitutes a basic factor in fighting these negative phenomena successfully.
Life itself proves our ideology right, free of dogmatisms and outdated concepts; it constitutes the firm basis on which we base our policy and operates as a lighthouse of guidance in the major daily struggles as well as those of smaller importance waged by our Party.
The basic principles of our outlook, our concept of socialism, the contemporary reflections in the world progressive movement should always be at the centre of our ideological work. At the same time, the active defense of our ideology, the uncovering of the deadlocks, of the class content, the contradictions and illusions of the ruling ideology, the based uncovering of the unpopular nature of the conservative, neo-liberal policy of the ruling circles, the struggle against nationalism and chauvinism, the struggle against subculture and the bourgeois cosmopolitanism, acquire, in the peculiar conditions of Cyprus, not only ideological but also enormous political importance. This struggle can embrace the members of AKEL but also every democrat Cypriot, man or woman, who does not conform with the establishment and to whatever this expresses.
Our ideological work has to be upgraded, put on a more organized and planned basis, enriched with new forms and should expand its scope. The greater involvement of the organizing mechanism in the planning and implementation of the education work is a necessary precondition for success. The greater and better use of our international relations, in particular concerning contemporary reflections in the Left internationally, is imperative. Having the above objectives in mind. The Party is called upon to study the establishment of a Research Centre, using the experience of left parties in other countries, a move that will help the upgrading of our intervention fin the ideological struggle that is constantly intensified in our society.
“Neos Democrates”, the theoretical and political journal of the Central Committee, has been published since 1948. It is sad that in recent years, at the time when our needs for ideological work are increased, “Neos Democrates” has in essence become idle. The issue of the role, regular publication and upgrading of the content of our theoretical and political voice, has to be studied by the new Central Committee in a very serious and specific way.
The Parliamentary Group
In the period under review, the Parliamentary Group worked in a satisfactory way and has basically responded to its duties and mission.
In the House of Representatives the Group has always had an active participation in the debates of bills and other issues, having well-elaborated and concise positions. What concerns the legislative work, the parliamentary Group of AKEL-Left-New Forces can pride itself of playing a leading role. Tenths of proposals concerning vital issues were drafted, tabled and voted to laws on our initiative. A number of proposals on Education, the regulation of the temporary employees in the civil service, the procedure of employment in the civil service and the semi-governmental sector (the establishment of written examinations), the Local Self-government, the Radio and Television, the people affected by the 1974 war, the invalids, the old peoples homes, the issues of family law and many others.
The participation of our parliamentarians in the House committees, in international representations of the House of Representatives, in groups of special issues, has always been productive and often defining.
A significant part of the overall activity of the Parliamentary Group is made up also by the extra-parliamentary activity, particularly what is concerned with the bringing up and resolution of hundreds of problems that cities and communities, various professional groups, employees, self-employed individuals, women, peasants, shopkeepers, refugees, people affected by the 1974 war, the poor, the youth, students and the civil servants face; the problems that the industry, tourism, commerce, development, environment, the cooperative movement face, as well as many others.
A rich and multi-ramified activity that served the bringing up and successful facing of vital for the people and society issues was developed in this sector. The contact with the neighbourhoods, local communities and the organized groups was in general lines satisfactory despite the fact that there is plenty of room for improvement. For example, more attention has to be given and the relations and contact should be strengthened between the Group of the members of the House of Representatives of each district with the Party’s District Committees and the mass organizations.
Our parliamentary group has constituted a well-prepared team that contributed significantly, among other things, to the presentation of the positions of the Party and the Popular Movement to the Mass Media, by means of speeches, visits and contacts. The possibilities, however, are more than these, and can be used further with the better organization and the better technocratic, technical and secretarial support to the Group.
In this direction the efforts and demand for the establishment of scientific support and other support from the state both to the MPs and the parliamentarian groups, have to be intensified.
The House of Representatives constitutes the legislative power in the Cypriot state, in which we participate with a large number of MPs. The true possibilities and powers of the House are not exhausted by the present situation and in the present activity.
We have to upgrade further its political, institutional and state role granting the Parliament, as the main democratic expression of power and popular sovereignty, the prestige and importance, which it deserves.
Our proposals and suggestions as well as the further strengthening, quantitatively and qualitatively, of the parliamentary group of AKEL –Left- New Forces, are going to be of particular importance and significance.
Being a large political party, AKEL has to be constantly informed of the various developments and current events, in order to be in a position to formulate its policy and tactics correctly. On the other hand it should be in position to avert possible acts against the party itself and it cadres. Such acts have taken place many times in the past and from different directions.
At the same time, being a Party that works in a semi-occupied and threatened by many dangers country, we consider it our duty to inform the state on anything that comes into our knowledge in relation to security issues and other related issues. The assistance given to the competent state authorities from AKEL on information issues both before and after 1974 has proven very important.
For all these reasons and taking into account the critical time that Cyprus is going through, the party and political vigilance as a duty of the whole party membership and of the friends of the Party, must be intensified and upgraded.
The social attitude of the modern Cypriots is determined by a number of external and internal factors. The globalization of the economy that is following the new-conservative “new-liberal” capitalist model has affected the Cypriot socioeconomic environment. At the same time Cyprus society, as an organic part of the global capitalist socioeconomic system, is subject to considerable influences causing important social and economic transformations leading to modification of the class structure.
Over the last few decades, Cyprus economy was characterized by the persistent and steady economic development. This economic development together with the struggle of the trade union movement and the Left as well as the balanced socioeconomic policies of the governments that preceded the current government, have led to an augmentation of the social and economic rights of the workers. Presently, though, the strength and robustness of the Cypriot economy is under assault both from external and internal factor and players.
The globalization of the economy promotes and imposes the developmental model of the extreme capitalism of the fierce and brutish market, and entails the policies of privatizations, economic “liberalizations”, flexi-hours, lower labor cost etc. This model has been endorsed by the local big capital and has been sanctioned as official state policy by the present government. This government builds an idealistic picture of the “free market” and its laws and uses as an alibi the accession process, the harmonization with the Acquis Communautaire and the need to meet the Maastriht Criteria, with the aim to impose a socioeconomic policy that will favor the higher classes and inflict the lower classes. This policy is also inflicting the healthy and sustainable development that Cyprus economy experienced before the current government took office.
Over the last five years the economic development turned even more to the tertiary sectors (Tourism, Trade, Financial and other services). At the same time the inability and reluctance of the current government to act and support the sectors of production (Industrial and Agricultural sectors) has led them to contraction. An analogues transfer of working population from the traditional industrial (construction, manufacturing, agricultural economy) to the services sectors accompanied this phenomenon.
For AKEL the issue of Cyprus economy is of paramount importance. A robust economy with a strong base is an important weapon in the political, social and economic struggles of our people.
We are working towards the creation of a modern economy where the social and private sectors will exist together, work together cooperate and cover each other. This economy will have at the center of its orientation the people and their needs (not the profit).
This philosophy that has at its center the people and their development is based on the following principles:
- The modern, dynamic, flexible and socially oriented mixed economy.
- The monitoring and control of the unrestrained and anarchic operation of laws and mechanisms of the market and the capitalist system in such a way that their working will not inflict the economically weaker ranks of the society.
- The consolidation and assurance of a fairer and just distribution and redistribution of the wealth that is produced by the society.
- The allocation of economic burdens according to everybody’s incomes.
- The construction a socially aware state that will protect and support the economically week ranks of the society.
Cypriot economy at this moment is demonstrating the following characteristics and trends:
- The Cypriot economy is still developing with higher than the global average rate of growth. Cyprus is a capitalist country with average developed productive forces. We note that we are in the midst of important qualitative and quantitative changes on the character of the Cypriot economy. We also note that Cypriot economy follows the trend that was observed on the developed economies, where the service sector gains primary importance over the rest of the economic sectors. At the same time the process of concentration and centralization of capital gained considerable intensity – especially after the launching and operation of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
- In spite of its particularities, the Cypriot economy is an inbuilt and integral part of the global capitalist economy. The further integration -of the Cypriot economy- to the Global and especially the European economy is accomplished at an accelerating rate. The small size and the openess of the Cypriot economy are the main reasons for the observed expansion and intensification of the level of its dependence on the European Union and determine its future orientations.
- The persistent growth of the Cypriot economy has been brought to a close during the last five years demonstrating low rates of growth. In spite of the recent growth rates, there was a considerable period (1995-97) of recession that was the outcome of structural changes and incorrect choices made by the present government.
- The failure and unwillingness of the present government to support and modernize the sectors of production (manufacturing, construction, agriculture) that are subject to considerable competitive pressures that resulted from the harmonization and accession process is leading to the contraction of these sectors. The consequence of this failure is the intensification of structural problems of the economy.
- The present government has consciously abandoned the mixed economy model of socioeconomic development adopted since the independence of the republic of Cyprus and followed up until 1993.
Instead of the mixed economic development model the neoconservative economic model has been adopted and implemented. This is a model of development promoted by multinationals and the international centres facilitating the globalisation of the economy and it is based on the following principles and parameters:
- The idealising of the free market, its laws and private initiative and the policy of abolition of any kind of state intervention in economic life.
- The gradual abolition of the state’s social role
- The adoption of an antipopular economic policy focused on numbers and indices which aims at increasing the state’s income through taxes that are borne by the people and at diminishing the state’s spending through welfare cuts.
- The harmonisation with european policies at any cost and irrespective of social disequilibrium that is thereby caused.The abolition of custom protection for cypriot products is not accompanied by supportive policies of the production sectors. The liberalisation of prices is not accompanied by the abolition of oligopolies.The liberalisation of interest rates does not provide safeguards for housing,education and other loans
- The reluctunce to support as well as the undermining of the co-operative movement in the name of harmonisation with Europe.
- The selective adoption of acquis communautaire and the distorted, at times, presentation by the government of our obligations towards the European Union which aims at promoting the interests of big capital.
- The adoption by the present government of privatisation policies as the state’s official policy. During the last 5 years the government made continuous attempts to sell off the organisations of social benefit to private capital. The government’s efforts failed as a result of the working people organised reaction.
AKEL promptly succeded in identifying and revealing to the Cypriot people the extent of the government’s antipopular economic policy and has projected its own popular positions and proposals:
We have continuously been fighting for the strengthening of a mass front of the working people irrespective of ideological or party position whose basic aims are the defence of the working people acquired rights, the upgrading of the state’s social role and the protection of the economy’s healthy structures against the attacks launched by capitalist circles as well as the government.
The people of Cyprus look up to AKEL as the national political force that can offer a convincing and contemporary popular alternative.
- The public deficit and debt constitute long-standing structural problems, which undermine economic stability.
The present government not only failed to control deficits but also through its increased spending on the state mechanism and the recruitment of thousands of its supporters has created the current deadlock, which it attempts to burden people with. The control of deficits must be achieved through the modernisation of the state mechanism, a fair tax system and the expenditure controls.
Cyprus needs today a socially oriented radical taxation reform and a socially sensitised state that supports the less favoured people.
- The Cyprus economy must, now more than ever, smoothly adapt to the conditions of the new international economic environment. There exist service sectors, which must be developed further. The almost absolute dependence on the European economy, the GATT, the creation of the World Trade Organisation and globalisation create a hard pressure on our economy.
These pressures enforce the adoption of a strategic plan of modernisation of the economy as well as a plan of upgrading human resources. These must aim at protecting the economy and its fundamental contributor – the working person- until they will be able to competitively operate within the new international economic environment.
- Within the framework of the new international economic environment societies search for anew role for the state which is obliged to adapt to the new socio-economic structures. The fundamental aspects of the state’s new role must be the following:
- The state’s leading role in development.
The market mechanism and those who serve it cannot take the strategically important economic and social decisions. Equally, the market cannot substitute democracy. As a result the state needs to determine the strategic planning of development choices and interfere as well as regulate the market economy as and when the operation of its laws end up at the expense of economically weaker social strata.
- The state’s social role
The contemporary state must be a social state. It must promote popular policies through the provision of free health care and education, through the opportunities of access to culture and entertainment. It must safeguard social insurance, set minimum wages exceeding the determined poverty level, take economic and development measures to reinforce employment, contribute to the alleviation of social exclusion and help through specific programmes the reintroduction of marginalised sections of the population.
- The state as the owner or provider of services to the people
The basic services of strategic nature must be offered by the state irrespective of the fact that liberalisation allows the provision of such services by the private sector. The state must, at the same time, take all necessary measures that will enable it to offer cheaper and qualitatively better services than the private sector within the framework of competition. Such basic sectors include water supply, electricity, telecommunications, air transport, mailing etc.
During 1999 the attention of the Cypriot society was focused on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
Initially prices were driven sky high as a result of many operational problems, the false euphoria created and the intervention of speculators. After that, the ctinuous fall in prices trapped thousands of misinformed investors while thousands of small investors have lost the savings of many years of hard work.
Unfortunately and despite AKEL’s strong warnings, a large amount of national savings ended up in the hands of certain skilful speculators.
The Stock Exchange is an institution that goes hand in hand with the capitalist system. Its existence indicates the level of development of a capitalist economy’s productive forces. The maturing of capitalism in Cyprus created the conditions for the existence of the stock market.
The Stock Exchange may prove useful for the economy if it operates within a strict framework that protects the investor. It provides the possibility of raising capital form the market so that Cypriot enterprises can expand and develop. It also provides the State the possibility to raise capital in order to carry out development projects or alleviate possible budget deficit problems.
On the other hand the vast amounts raised by companies leads to mergers and acquisitions as a result of which small and medium sized businesses are at a competitive disadvantage. Unfortunately the vast amount of investments on the Cyprus Stock Exchange has been channelled to the service sector. This is not a healthy phenomenon. Under normal circumstances the majority of money invested should have been directed to the economy’s productive sectors.
AKEL will closely follow the Stock Exchange operation and will intervene as and when speculation is being observed against small investors or the operation results at the detriment of economic development itself.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS
Cyprus Economy develops with satisfactory growth rates, comparable to the levels experienced by many developed countries. At the same time the tough social struggles of the Cypriot people mean that the majority of the people can enjoy an acceptable living standard. Nevertheless, Cyprus is faced with a great number of economic and social problems. Such socioeconomic problems are:
- The immense structural problem of continued shrinking of the productive sectors and the one-sided development of the services sector, especially the tourist sector.
- The problem of lack of modernization of the economy, especially of the material base of the industry. The modernization of the manufacturing industry is the most important factor in increasingductivity and improvement of the competitiveness of the economy. The new international economic environment and the increasing competitive pressures impose the necessity of modernization through the adoption of specific support programs, putting emphasis on the small and medium sized manufacturing units.
- The continued expansion of the budget deficit and the public debt are ruining the stability the Cyprus Economy and tend to pass on the problem to future generations. There are is a need for the adoption of measures for the modernization of the state mechanism, the imposition of austerity and cost-cutting measures to the consuming expenditures of the government. There is also a need for modernization of the taxation system through a total reform of the taxation system.
- The unequal distribution of the national income that favors the big capital at the expense of the popular masses. For the lessening of this injustice there must be:
- A radical taxation reform with popular orientation, following the principle: each person contributes in accordance to his income.
- Effective measures for eliminating tax evasion.
- Improvement of the social welfare through a number of contributions to those with low incomes.
- Specific measures should be taken for the diminution of the income gap between the well-off and the deprived.
- Following a long period of relatively low levels, inflation rose to the risky levels of 5%.
The inflationary pressures are the result of the withdrawal of the pricing control and the luck of effective measures to restrain the advert effects of this policy. It is also the outcome of the taxation policy of the government and the weakening of the restrictions for loans made for investments in the stock exchange.
- The same bleak picture is presented in relation with the issue of employment levels. The official statistics indicate that unemployment reached the level of 5% this year, against the 1,8 % unemployment rate eight years ago. It should be noted that a large number of unemployed do not register at the employment bureaus and are not recorded by the official statistics as unemployed. If those were included the rate of unemployment would be much higher than the rate of 5% or the 13,000 unemployed persons.
The rise of unemployment is the result of the shrinking productive sectors of the economy and the failure of the government to support those sectors. Another contributing factor is the official policy and practice that the government follows on the issue of employment of foreign workers.
It is clear that the government failed to draw and operate a retraining program and to introduce motives that will facilitate the employment of young graduates.
- The phenomenon of mass employment of temporary immigrant workers and especially the immigrants without papers (san papier) has come to be one of the major issues of concern for the workers, the trade union movement and the society at large.
The issue must be raised more vigorously now, that unemployment is on the increase and the phenomena of overexploitation and the use of the immigrant workers as a cheap alternative labor in a way that puts pressure to the working conditions of the rest of the workers, is more than obvious.
AKEL believes that it is an obligation of the government to make sure that the phenomenon is put under control. Special attention must be paid to the elimination of illegal employment, through the application of the relative laws and the sentencing of illegal employers, whom we consider to be the major culprits in the creation of this problem. The application of the relevant laws to date is far from convincing as to the intentions of the government to eliminate the phenomenon of illegal employment.
Bearing mind that there is not any shortage of labor at this moment in the economy and noting the increasing rate of unemployment, AKEL will support the demand of the trade union movement to prevent any more working visas to be given and to review the relevant criteria.
In the spirit of internationalism and solidarity characterizing its principles, AKEL will always have a firm stand against any attempt for exploitation and racist treatment against the immigrants.
We will work consistently, together with the trade union movement, so that the working conditions and terms of employment of the migrant workers who work legally in Cyprus will be the same as those of their Cypriot colleagues, in accordance with the laws and the collective agreements.
- According to the official statistics 70,000 Cypriots or a tenth of the islands population lives below the socially acceptable level of poverty. AKEL prepared and submitted specific proposals to combat this social injustice. (Increase of the minimum salary, rise in pensions, rise and expansion of social welfare payments and subsidies and the introduction of a specific item in the government budget for the alleviation of poverty). Unfortunately, the nonexistent governmental social policy facilitated the aggravation of the problem.
- The issue of housing is becoming one of the most important social problems in Cyprus. The persistent rise of the property prices meant that the ability of the people to purchase their own house has been eliminated even more. The financial packages design for the lower income classes that are offered by some semi-governmental institutions, did little to eliminate the problem. There is a need for examination and design of specific programs for the construction and supply of low cost houses both by the central government and local councils. At the same time, there is an immense need for a review and modernization of the housing policy for the refugees.
- The health sector is also faced with acute problems. The service levels offered by the state hospitals descend, there is an absence of development and improvement of the infrastructure these institutions, the prices of medicines have gone sky high. The consequence of all these is that health services are becoming all the more a privilege of the few who can afford them, rather than a social good and a right for all. There is a need for the immediate introduction of the National Health Service, the improvement of the state health services, the upgrading of the material base of the health institutions, the development of new hospital units and the introduction of price controls on the medicines.
CRIME AND DRUGS
One of the most serious social problems is the increase in drugs and the big dimensions taken in particular by organised crime behind which enormous financial interests are lurking.
The trafficking in prostitution has taken on a very dangerous dimension. Actually it corrupts consciousnesses, it destroys the social web and harms Cyprus’ reputation internationally.
Armed robberies, the use of bombs, assassinations of people from the underworld have unfortunately become part of our daily life.
Drugs are becoming a major social problem. The use of these substances is turning into a scourge, especially for young people, making their way dangerously into the schools and threatening every house and family.
Unfortunately, both the government and the police of Cyprus have failed in facing and restricting crime. Corruption within the police force itself as well as the links of some policemen with the criminal circles is also alarming.
We in AKEL should upgrade our concern and our contribution in the fight against crime and drugs. In this regard, apart from the specific proposals that we have submitted at times, it is absolutely essential that our party works out a concrete policy with detailed proposals which will not be limited only to measures of suppression but will also touch on the issue of prevention through the confrontation of the socio-economic causes that lead to the increase in crimes and drugs. Our proposals must be presented to society as a whole and the relevant bodies and represent the foundation of our struggle against crime and corruption.
WORKING PEOPLE AND THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
The years that have passed since our last Congress are characterized by an intensive attack by the employers and the government against the standard of living and the historical achievements of Cypriot working people. A typical feature that should be stressed is that for the first time since the independence of Cyprus we have witnessed such an intensive identification of philosophy and policy between the government of the country and the big capital.
The basic characteristics of this neo-liberal attack are: the systematic efforts of the government to privatise the institutions of public interest, the unilateral and imperious decision of the government to change the institution of the “Cost of Living Allowance”, its attempt to prohibit by law strikes in essential services, the unilateral harmonisation with the “acquis communautaire”, the imposition of heavy taxes falling upon the low and middle revenue classes, etc.
At the same time, the employers have pursued their policy of cutting workers’ salaries and allowances while we have experienced intensive phenomena of deregulation of industrial relations through the introduction of so-called flexible forms of employment, sub-contracting, seasonal employment, employment at home and their use in view to undermine and reduce the role of collective agreements and as a consequence the role of the trade union movement itself.
It is our estimation that in these circumstances the workers of Cyprus, under the leadership of the trade union movement, have strongly resisted the intensive and continuous pressures and have fought successfully for the defence of their fundamental rights and achievements. During this period we have had increases of salaries and other benefits, the completion of the implementation of a 38-hour week, an increase in the minimum social pensions, the decrease in the age for the entitlement to social pension etc.
In these years the trade union movement of Cyprus has waged intensive and militant struggles with the main objective being the defence of the right of each worker to enjoy working terms and conditions that are regulated through collective agreements. The strike in “Lordos Hotels” which lasted almost six months, from the 30th of January until 17th of July 2000, the strike of the taxi drivers, the strike in the farm of the Fassouri Plantations Company had as the main and common element the struggle against the deregulation of industrial relations and this represents a new qualitative step in the struggles of the working people.
The mobilisation of the workers on the question of COLA has marked a very important stage in the struggle of the working people against the neo-liberal conservative policies
The government’s insistence in implementing its proposal that provides for the deduction of the increases of the consumption taxes from the calculation of the cost of living allowance, ignoring the disagreement of the majority of the trade union movement, has provoked a series of militant labour mobilisations showing the readiness and the determination of the workers to resist the arbitrary and arrogant decision to cut down the COLA.
The party of the working people, AKEL, was a firm and permanent supporter of the workers and their trade union organisations against these attacks, supporting their struggles and demands not only on a political level but also in practice too.
The experience of recent years and the new elements that have appeared in the field of labour relations have shown that the adequate answer to the all-round attack against the workers’ rights is to be found only in the increasing rallying of the working people around the union movement, in their class awareness and in their wider and more active participation in the struggles for the protection of their rights, for the improvement of their standard of living and for a better quality of life.
The role of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) in this direction, as the leading class-oriented trade union organization, is particularly important and decisive. The 23rd Congress of PEO, held in February 2000, was a militant Congress with modern and renovating orientations. In its decisions the Congress clearly and concretely projected the vision of PEO regarding the position of the person in the new century and defined the main axes of the policy to be followed by the trade union movement in view of the new challenges and the intensive attack of the government and forces of big capital.
These axes concern the claiming of specific goals that cover all the sectors of a modern and qualitatively upgraded standard of living, the emphasis on the workers’ education in the spirit of class struggle, campaigning outlook and militancy, the qualitative improvement of the services offered by the union mechanism in all the fields through the more efficient and systematic contact with the working people and providing them with upgraded services.
AKEL will continue to stand by the trade union movement in its effort to protect the standard of living, to improve wages and salaries as well as the other working terms and conditions, the introduction of new measures of social policy, the adoption of modern labour legislation.
The strengthening of the trade union movement, the biggest possible unionisation and rallying of workers around the trade union organisations should be a daily preoccupation for every working member of AKEL wherever they work.
The members of AKEL should be active leading trade union cadres; participate actively and play an important role in the trade union organisations. This concerns their participation and activation in the union movement of PEO but also in the other trade union organisations or factions that operate for the different branches or professions such as for instance the public servants, teachers, bank employees etc.
FARMERS – FARMERS’ MOVEMENT
The agricultural sector is targeted by liberalizations, the decrease of customs and the adverse climatic conditions. The unfair competition by imports, the decreased competitiveness of Cyprus’ agricultural products, the increased costs that bear heavily on the decreased production due to drought or disasters caused by other calamities, slash the agricultural income, increasing agricultural debts: in the local Cooperative Credit Companies the agricultural debts climbed from 66 millions in 1991 and 117 millions in 1995 to 142 millions in 1999. The contribution of the broader agricultural sector to the GNP dropped to 4,5%, while the employment in “equally strong fully engaged individuals” dropped, according to official data, to almost 8,5%.
These declining trends unfortunately continue, indeed accelerating due to the governmental policy in practice. The pursued governmental conservative economic policy keeps the amounts in current prices in the Development Budgets unchanged for the broader agricultural sector, while if inflation is removed from them and the result compared to the fixed prices, their decrease will be noted in relation to 1993, when for the first time the right wing and extreme right came to power.
The much advertised changes in plantations of citrus trees and vineyards aim at the solution of the problems by the uprooting that lead to the decrease of production. The elaborated plans for subsidies by hectare of cereals and the preparation of hay lead to the drop of their production with all the negative consequences that follow in the production of cattle products.
The financial assistance granted from time to time by the Support Funds, has never replaced the farmers’ income that was lost. It simply covered only one part of the production cost of the agricultural products destroyed due to the unfavourable weather conditions, or were distributed at humiliating prices in the international market.
At the most crucial turn for the agricultural economy, which is going through a serious transition stage that defines its future course, while serious capital investments in infrastructure works, in studies and strategic planning aiming at modernization and restructuring should have been made by the state itself, a freezing of development budget allocations, stagnation in the issues of rebuilding institutions and removal of cadres of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment are taking place.
AKEL follows the developments, contributes to the bringing up of problems and demands of the peasantry and is in practice solidary with the difficult struggle of EKA (Union of Cypriot Farmers) and the Agricultural Movement for the promotion of agricultural reforms for restructuring, upgrading and modernization of the productive procedure.
In view of the new conditions that are being formulated and the Government’s unwillingness to pursue a rational agricultural policy, AKEL is going to support even more strongly and promote the demands brought up by the agricultural movement in cooperation with EKA, for restructuring and modernization to become a reality in order to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector. In this direction the following, among others, have to be promoted:
- Channeling of capital investments by the granting of substantial stimuli, particularly for the small and medium sized agricultural-cattle raising households;
- Taking of practical measures – beyond investments – for the creation of contemporary viable units;
- Promotion of new sorts in the basic sectors of crop production and improved kinds in animal production;
- Granting of substantial stimuli for true restructuring of fundamental cultivations;
- Strengthening of research for the implementation of modern units of organization and management in the agricultural production;
- Upgrading and adequate manning of the competent state services, particularly of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment;
- Decrease in general of the production costs by:
- Strict and effective market control
- Financing by the government of petrol used for agricultural purposes
- Zero VAT index on agricultural necessities and offered services
- Education for the rational use of fertilizers and medicines
- Simplification of trade structures by the institutionalization of Second Degree Agency of Commerce and strengthening of Boards of Commerce
- Freeing the farmer from city-tolls
- Regulating agricultural debts, without excluding their canceling;
- Institutionalizing the Support Funds aiming at the
stabilization of prices, the safeguarding of a stable agricultural income for the implementation of long-term capital investments;
- Implementation of Standards without upsetting the marker
and influencing the agricultural income;
- Rational regulation and better use of water resources by the
establishment of an independent Water Board that will contribute to the more just distribution of water will promote the establishment of desalination units where on the basis of objective planning and environmental studies and will implement broad methods of purification of sewage and brackish underground waters;
11.Continuous improvement of agricultural security
12.Absorbance by the State of the required costs of harmonization with
the acquis commutative and will be implemented by the community;
- Granting of increased stimuli for the creation of agricultural
small industries and the promotion of agro-tourism;
- Upgrading and extending of existing Plans for the youth and
women and the promotion of new improved plans;
- Enriching of the syllabus with subjects of agricultural economy and
the creation of an Agricultural School.
AKEL believes that by the promotion of the above measures preconditions are created for progressive agricultural reforms for the restructuring and modernization of agricultural economy, for increase in the productivity and competitiveness of Cypriot agricultural and cattle raising, for a rational community development having man at is centre, for communal development, and revival of Cyprus’ country side.
This numerous category of working people includes the self-employed, craftsmen, shop owners, drivers, tradesmen and professionals, who experience the pressure and competition of big capital. Because of this fact, their more general economic and political interests coincide to a greater degree with those of the salaried employees rather than with those of capital.
Since its foundation, our Party paid attention to these strata and contributed greatly to their professional organizing, offering all-round assistance and support in the promotion of their occupational problems.
The course of events and the development of our economy in recent years have led to the development of the services sector to the detriment of productive professions, which are constantly showing a declining course. The involvement of big capital in new sectors of activity of the low and middle strata professionals creates and causes a conflict of interests to a greater extent than in the past. This brings about a greater need today for an organized and collective dealing with these problems, caused by this conflict.
Big capital, exploiting the course of Cyprus’ harmonization with the acquis communautaire attempts and seeks to have everything regulated in a way and to the degree that its own interests are being served. It has found a faithful ally in this attempt in the present conservative anti-popular government, which seeks to liberalize everything, depriving from the middle strata gained rights and creating the conditions for the invasion of multinationals into our island, in cooperation ith the local big capital.
This Governmental policy is expressed in the political decisions for an immediate liberalization of the country’s financial and credit system before taking measures for healthy competition and safeguards for the public; for the freeing of opening hours for shops and the elimination of the afternoon break; the indifference in supervising the sales law; the indifference in taking the necessary measures to support the small and middle enterprises in view of our harmonization with the acquis communautaire and many other things that concern the small and middle-sized enterprises.
The duty of our Party and the Popular Movement vis-à-vis the middle strata is:
- Reaffirm the similarity and affinity of interests of the middle strata with those of the working class and the farmers;
- Contribute, through the party members who belong to this strata, to the further growth of these organizations and branches, as well to the examination, classification and prioritization of their problems;
- Present these problems to the relevant authorities inside and outside Parliament and struggle with the middle strata to challenge their just demands;
- Lead and struggle together with these strata, to avert the negative influence of our harmonization with the acquis communautaire in our course towards the EU on their standard of living;
- In the formulation of its more general policy and tactics our Party should take carefully into account their interests too.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE YOUTH MOVEMENT
The young generation of Cyprus lives and acts in a social system, which glorifies profit, imposes FIERCE competition, individualism and selfishness, a system that “kills” social solidarity and that tends to convert part of the youth into an egocentric element, marginalized, powerless and distanced from collective participation and action in the social procedure. The system formulates “fake consciousness”, fosters illusions and often achieves to succeed the social demobilization of the youth, which as a social group is more open to influences. Through these manifold mechanisms and structures the system reproduces these phenomena, it maintains and strengthens them. Along with the objective factors, which formulate the framework in which the social consciousness of young people is formed, there are another two elements, which exert a powerful influence on the awareness of the young generation.
These are the following:
- a) The continuous occupation of 37 % of our country and the many years of stalemate on the Cyprus problem, which favour a tendency towards disappointment, apathy and indifference as well as a tendency to despair which contribute as a consequence to the nationalistic fervour and the cultivation of extremist attitudes.
- b)The economic development of the island with it’s generally satisfactory standard of living, which at the same time through the lack of social experiences and struggles in order to achieve it, impede the formation of a class-based perspective and so intensifies the harbouring of illusions for the future.
The pressure, which is put on young people by their social environment in the last few years, has increased. The right-wing government, through it’s conservative socio-economic policy and the authoritarianism it is characterized by, has increased those factors which push young people to isolation and the renunciation of organized, collective participation and struggle.
The conservative policy of the government has increased unemployment and social insecurity, which also strongly affects young people. It’s authoritarianism and arbitrariness has led to the extinction of even those limited possibilities, which young people had for participation in the decision-making centres. The strengthening of the phenomena of favouritism, lack of meritocracy and partiality increase the problems of inequality in our society and often leads to the humiliation of their dignity. At the same time the governing circles and generally the Right on the one hand forge nationalism to new levels and on the other promote the logic of submission and the subjugation to the new world order because this is what the ‘national interest’ supposedly calls for.
All of these factors have led quite a few times to a section of young people to give expression to their feelings of resentment towards politics and the political parties. This is a worrying trend for our society and dangerous for the Left, because the phenomena of resentment, disappointment and withdrawal from the political process function as a mechanism of self-defence, conservatism and reproduction of the establishment and the ruling class.
The Left, in order to fulfill its goals and especially for the building of a society of justice, solidarity and equality with people at its centre of attention, needs active, energetic and not distanced people. The struggle, which the Left is waging on this level, is not only against the right wing, conservative policy but also against this very attitude to life, of distancing and resentment to politics, which at the end of the day serves the policy of the right wing.
Despite the pressure felt by the young people of Cyprus, they generally maintain the characteristics of rebelliousness, spontaneity, and the drive towards everything that is new and fresh, which potentially make it a radical and progressive element, and carrier of social changes.
The Youth Movement of the Left, EDON, maintains a strong relation, presence and intervention in the youth. This relation is based on the historical links that the Left has built with the new generation in its struggles for the defence of its independence, freedom and democracy in our country, for the defense and broadening of the rights and achievements of the new generation and is expanded in the contemporary struggles and demands of the youth.
The central points in EDON’s political and ideological work are the maintenance and strengthening of the young people’s activity for the just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem, the struggle against nationalism and chauvinism and the activity to upgrade and enrich the policy of rapprochement BETWEEN Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
At the same time, the action in defence of and for the increase of the rights and benefits of the youth is connected with the struggle against the conservative, neo-liberal policy and choices of the government, what helps the youth to realize that better living conditions are not safeguarded by the system, but can only be achieved through a constant hard class struggle. This specific activity reveals to the youth the objective close relation that exists between the aims and perspectives of the positions, struggles, vision of AKEL and the Left, with the achievements and rights of the youth. This struggle is the one that creates the preconditions of convincing people; it is the one that helps the realization of the need for organized struggle.
The issue of the struggle to convince more people is an issue that the Party should deal with, in closer contact, coordination and cooperation with EDON, giving particular emphasis to upgrading the role and intervention of EDON organizations locally, to developing its political, educational, trade union and cultural activity harmonizing its content to the contemporary needs and demands of the youth. Special reflection should be made on the content of the activity of local clubs and the presence of EDON in these, as well as on the creation of places for the youth, through which EDON will be able to reach out to the young people.
WOMEN AND WOMEN’S MOVEMENT
A field that constitutes the object of intense reflection on many levels is the position of women in contemporary society.
The general ascertainment is that as a result of lengthy struggles, mainly of AKEL, of the organized Women’s Progressive Movement of POGO and more broadly of the Popular Movement, the position of the Cypriot woman is clearly upgraded in comparison to the past. Today, women play a very serious role in all sectors of social life in our country: political, economic, social, family and cultural.
Despite the active participation of women in the social, political and economic life of the country, the position they occupy in Cypriot society is not appropriate to their contribution and does not agree with the role they play. They are mainly absent from decision-making centres and centres where policy is drafted. That is why the road that has to be covered is still long, until women attain satisfactory levels of equal participation in society.
It is well known that since its foundation AKEL regards women as equal citizens, part of the social whole and struggles consistently for the safeguarding of their rights. Having in mind the changes in the country’s social life, and mainly the differentiation of the contemporary position and role of women, the need comes up for a more intense struggle for the solution of the problems women face, for the improvement of their social position, the eradication of all adverse discriminations that still exist against them.
AKEL struggles inside and outside Parliament for the full equality of women vis-à-vis men, for equal opportunities in education, employment and life.
AKEL considers that the establishment of women as equal members of society and equal citizens, their promotion, recognition and distinguishing in the family, at work, in social life and public posts, have never been only a cause of women. It was and remains always a cause and responsibility of the whole society; a cause that remains a cause of those broader forces that struggle for social progress and social justice.
The woman’s issue is not a matter of competition between the two sexes. Above all it is an issue of social inequality, the root of which is found in exploitation and oppression, reproduced by the prevailing capitalist system.
The struggles and efforts of women for political and social rights are closely linked in our country with the aims and struggles of AKEL. AKEL insists on the position that the rights of women in all fields of social life have to be the object of organized challenging by the party and the Progressive Women’s Movement of POGO, to which it should give more assistance as well as to press for the increase of the pace of promoting women to the decision-making centres.
In the general guidelines of AKEL’s policy, the problems faced by women are viewed in the right dimension, aiming at readjusting its work in such a way that both inside the Party and more broadly in Cypriot society, women upgrade their presence and contribution.
This can be achieved by:
- Elaborating and presenting specific comprehensive positions/proposals on the most serious problems of Cypriot women.
- Using and presenting women cadres in party work and not only in issues exclusively related with women issues.
- Publicizing AKEL’s positions on various issues raised and which are connected with women.
- Using a larger number of women in various party posts and presenting the work women party cadres carry out, mainly in public posts (e.g. mayors, municipal councilors, etc)
- Elaborating and promoting for discussion and adoption by the House of Representatives of bills that would promote the eradication of discriminations against women, in cooperation with the Women’s Movement of POGO.
- Exercise parliamentary control for the practical implementation of the adopted laws.
AKEL, being the Party that consciously promoted issues of social justice, has a serious role to play in the more general effort to improve the position of women in Cypriot society.
The conditions themselves impose on AKEL to manifest a more specific assistance and support to the Democratic women’s Movement of POGO that today constitutes a mass women’s movement, with broad orientations, to be able to continue being in theforegront of the struggle to attain the rights of women; to make our vision of the woman of the New Century a reality.
THE REFUGEE MOVEMENT AND THE REFUGEE PROBLEMS
MISSING-PERSONS – ENCLAVED – PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED FROM THE 1974 WAR
The occupation of 37% of Cypriot territory by the Attila invaders, created the refugees, who through their hardships believed in organized struggle, that is why they created the CRC (Cyprus Refugee Committee). Thus, the refugee movement with many AKEL members and cadres as pioneers has offered valuable services to our compatriots who had the mishap to become refugees.
The CRC activity continued without substantial obstacles for the benefit of refugees until 1990, when certain circles for political and party expediencies worked in the direction of its dissolution. It was then that the countdown for the organized refugee movement started.
Our party fought in Parliament to introduce to the law those correct provisions that would allow the new CUR (Cyprus Union of Refugees) to function correctly and elect its leadership by means of general elections with the system of proportional representation. The problems would not stop at that. The President of the Republic referred to the Supreme Court the Law that was passed by the Parliament. After almost a year, the Supreme Court justified fully the positions presented by AKEL during the discussion of the law.
During 1999 and although at the start all parties agreed with the holding of elections in the CRC, the majority of parliamentary Parties, in contradiction to what AKEL called for, which insisted on the holding immediately of elections, postponed the elections for December 2001.
In view of all the above, the voting for the election of refugee representatives on a local, district and central levels justify, although with delay, the constant demand for the reactivating of the CRC, the demanding of the refugees’ rights, the organized contribution of refugees to the social and political struggles. The significance of these elections cannot be underestimated and we should deal with all the arising issues with care, planning and broad-mindedness.
The settlement of the Cyprus problem and the safeguarding of the right of all refugees to return to their ancestral homes under conditions of security and safeguarded human rights is the main issue faced by the refugees.
The safeguarding of a comfortable temporary life for the refugees remains in our daily concern to the extent that every refugee feels that AKEL is struggling along with him for the solution of his real continuous problems.
Over the past five years, the policy of Clerides’ government on the refugee problems is not satisfactory, since:
- a) It insisted on the policy of not building new state housing estates;
- b) The change of the criteria for housing that resulted from our great pressure both inside and outside Parliament, does not cover even 50% of the price increases and inflation;
- c) The policy of restructuring the housing estates was implemented on a limited scale and is delayed unjustifiably;
- d) The subsidizing of rents remains on low levels;
- e) The sums granted for repairs of low cost houses built by refugees themselves have remained at the low sum of 3.500 Cyprus pounds, despite the general opposition of the refugees and the parties;
- f) The Agency of Balanced Distribution of Economic Burdens functioned with serious problems and had we not intervened through Parliament in the direction of the radical amendment of the Regulations, then this institution would have been operating in a limited and ineffective way;
- g) Clerides’ government proceeded to the issuing of title deeds for refugee houses to a number of refugees for electoral expediencies. This resulted to unfavourable discriminations and differences among refugees who received a title deed, and those who did not, the number of the latter being bigger.
AKEL tried to improve the policy on refugee problems by tabling tens of issues for discussion at the relevant Parliamentary Commission and by exercising constant pressure on the government both inside and outside Parliament.
We propose the following for the solution of the problems faced by refugees:
- Construction of new state housing estates to cover the needs of poor refugee families;
- Radical reconstruction and restructuring of the existing state housing estates and the creation of better living conditions;
- Partition of new building sites near the existing estates to cover the existing demand and to avoid the splitting of refugee families;
- Substantial change in the income criteria and the granted sums for housing purposes on the basis of the present conditions;
- Increases should cover also the plan to subsidizing rents;
- The amounts granted for repairs of low cost houses built by refugees themselves should be increased from 3.500 Cyprus pounds to 6.000, according to the needs of each house;
- Approval of applications of young couples for settling in the state housing estates to achieve a mixture of age groups and hence stop the estates from becoming residence only for old-peoples;
- Improvement of the quality of the Turkish Cypriot houses (NOTE: inhabited temporarily by Greek Cypriot refugees) and making the necessary infrastructure in the Turkish Cypriot neighbourhoods in towns and in Turkish Cypriot villages;
- Grant certificates of inhabitance that would solve the issues of ownership, succession, recognition of economic values that refugees have spent, offering loan opportunities on the basis of the certificates of inhabitance.
- Agency of Balanced Distribution of Economic Burdens
- Greater economic support by the government and adequate staffing;
- Examine applications at a quicker pace;
- Introduce new loaning schemes to cover existing loans made for reasons covered by the Agency;
- Draft legislation that would constitute the Charter of Refugee Rights, which would solve the issue of who is a refugee.
The humanitarian problem of the Cypriot missing persons remains unsolved since 1974, mainly due to Denktash’s unacceptable stand and due to the irresoluteness of the United Nations in implementing their own resolutions on the missing persons.
The positions on the evidence of death and the grouping of the missing persons lead to the closing of the issue without safeguarding the right of the relatives to know the truth about their beloved persons.
The July 31 1997 agreement on location and exhumation of tombs where missing persons are buried was not implemented due to Denktash’s incompliance with the obligations.
The verification of the fate of a number of missing persons constitutes a positive development, however, this has not solved the problem.
The missing persons’ issue should be in our priorities and the efforts should be intensified to achieve the functioning of the Missing Persons Investigation Committee (MPIC), with the appointment of a third member from the part of the UN being the first concern.
By internationalizing the issue, we should seek to boost the interest of humanitarian organizations and agencies, and to have pressure exerted on Turkey and Denktash for the examination and verification of the fate of each and every missing person.
The number of Greek Cypriot and Maronite enclaved is constantly declining as a consequence of Denktash’s policy that violates the agreements, which he signed and the policy of ethnic cleansing.
Fundamental human rights of the enclaved that concern the securing of their lives, freedom of movement, education, ownership, health care, exercise of religious rights, profession and others, continue to be violated with the tolerance of the UN.
The enclaved issue has to remain within our priorities as an issue of violation of human rights.
Clerides’ policy concerning the claiming of the rights of the enclaved is not considered satisfactory. There are complains concerning the repairing of houses that belong to enclaved, the granted allowances and the delay in solving the problems faced by the children of the enclaved who reside in the free areas.
WAR STRICKEN PEOPLE
The families of people who died in the war, of missing persons and war invalids, are constantly at the centre of AKEL’s attention. AKEL carried out significant initiatives inside and outside parliament, for the solution of basic and daily problems of this group.
Despite our efforts, however, various problems remain unsolved:
- a) Correct implementation of the Legislation on their employment;
- b) Full compliance of the Government with the agreed on the economic issues (subsidies) and their adaptation to the present situation;
- c) Granting of facilities for education, studies, health care and others;
- d) Granting of diplomas of honour for distinction and moral rewards as provided by the relevant Legislation;
- e) Erecting a monument to the heroes of Resistance and Democracy as well as of all who fell in the struggles of the Cypriot people.
THE COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT
The Cooperative Movement has already celebrated 90 years of life, intense activity and great contribution to our country. It gathers in its ranks tens of thousands of people remaining the largest mass movement with an intense presence in various sectors of economy and social life.
The Cooperative Movement is a social achievement of the Cypriot people, and AKEL feels proud for standing firmly by it since its establishment supporting its activity and development.
AKEL considers that the Cooperative Movement has not yet completed its mission in the country, as certain people claim. On the contrary, it has a serious diachronic role to play and a lot to offer, both to the economy and the Cypriot society in general. The course of Cyprus to EU accession is not an obstacle to the Movement’s development but on the contrary it can lend new dynamics to its development.
AKEL assesses that the recent moves made by the Cooperative Movement, taking into account the existing new financial and economic situation, were correct and necessary to be able to respond to the market demand on the one hand and to serve its partners by responding to the challenges of private capital.
At the same time it is necessary that the Cooperative Movement overcomes certain difficulties caused by its structure as well as by the outdated legal framework in force; hence certain legal modernization that will improve its operation is necessary.
A high degree of seriousness and strictness has to be exhibited always on issues of correct management, fair handling, timely preventive control and planning far ahead, so as to stop private capital and its representatives from attacking the Movement by promoting their own interests.
The Government has the obligation to defend the achievements of the Cooperative Movement in the accession negotiations, since these serve the interests of a big mass of the people, who need the support of the Cooperative Movement in facing various problems, as well as for the further improvement of their standard of living.
PEACE AND SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
The so-called new order has proved to be a new disorder, which further aggravates the past problems and creates new ones. The North-South gap is widening, and so does the polarization of poverty and richness in the developing countries themselves.
The spreading of nuclear, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction threatens world peace. The arms expenditures increase even in countries ravaged by hunger!!! Environment is overstrained to a dangerous extent. Humanity is suffering through bloody local and regional wars. The dirty, unlawful war of the USA and NATO against the people of Yugoslavia was the culmination of the above. The New Strategic Concept of NATO defies the UN, violates International Law and leads to the law of the jungle.
In the above conditions the role of the Peace and Solidarity Movement acquires particular importance.
AKEL, which always played a leading role in the struggle for peace and solidarity, notes the reorganization of the Cyprus Peace Council and its upgrading in the World Movement thanks to its contribution both in Cyprus and internationally. AKEL appreciates particularly the mass 6th Peace March of May 1999, which expressed the demand of our people for the termination of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Cyprus and the demolition of military bases in our country.
EPAAL – solidarity committee – the collective body of our popular movement, by means of its contacts with AAPSO, OSPAAL and its recognition by UNESCO as a Non-Governmental Organization, also contributes to the manifestation of the solidarity of our people with other peoples and the expression of international solidarity to the struggle for the salvation of Cyprus.
AKEL is going to continue its support to the Peace and Solidarity Movement, which should be broadened and mobilized to a greater extent in order to carry out its mission in all aspects:
- To promote the peaceful just solution of the Cyprus problem contributing to the rapprochement of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and the ensuring of international solidarity with the struggle of our people;
- To foster the anti-war feeling of our people and a more active participation in the International Movement for nuclear disarmament, abolition of bases, peaceful solution of conflicts, for peace with freedom and justice for Cyprus and the world;
- To develop solidarity with all peoples struggling for independence, national sovereignty, democracy, development of respect to the environment and for a better future.
It is a known fact that as Left forces we attach particular importance to the institution of Local Self-Government, since in our understanding it plays the role of a bridge towards a new structuring of public life, towards the social and human substance of politics.
At the dawn of a new century, the institutional integration of the Local Self-Government, its political and financial independence, and its social credibility constitute a dire necessity. This is because peoples’ contemporary needs are differentiated qualitatively and quantitatively as compared to the past, but also because the certain degree of autonomy of Self-Government vis-à-vis the state, the citizens’ participation in its functions, the placing of people with their daily activities and needs at the centre of its activity, convert Self-Government to a bridge towards the essence of democracy.
Unfortunately, the promises made on various occasions concerning measures for the substantial strengthening of the Municipalities and Communities remain unfulfilled. The erosion of institutions with the continuation of “begging” for unforeseen allocations and subsidies from the state, still goes on. The despotism and centralism of the government, the underrating of the social role of the state and the logics of “business”, which prevails in the state budgets, make the position of the local self-government authorities much harder: they continue facing the threat of economic collapse, bureaucratic controls, staff shortage. Even such defining institutional changes as the adoption of the Law on Communities in July 1999, may remain unimplemented since the ruling circles refuse the broadening of the responsibilities of Local Self-Government and, what is more, they claim back even responsibilities assigned to the local authorities.
The elected AKEL representatives in this sector, have been developing, for many years, noteworthy activity on the basis of the reasoning that the town and its functioning should serve people and not separate interests, aiming mainly to the shaping of towns with a human image. The central point of the concept and practice of the Left in Local Self-Government is that it constitutes local power on the one hand, and on the other a vehicle of popular creation and challenging.
Within the above framework we struggle to:
- Legislate the integration and strengthening of the autonomy of Local Self-Government;
- Safeguard its financial independence as a precondition of the drafting of development programmes on the basis of local needs and criteria;
- Encourage or even legislate the cooperation of neighbouring Municipalities and Communities in offering services as well as in drafting development policies;
- Broaden the citizens’ participation in the procedures of local self-government and the development of the precondition of democratic decentralization of the state’
At the same time, we support consistently and encourage every effort for town planning restructuring, for the protection and development of the environment, for the creation of new terms of contribution to culture, sports, social welfare.
To achieve the above objectives we seek consensus and common action with the other political forces, as well as the direct participation, by different means and ways, of the people in the management of local affairs.
However, most of all we seek to achieve constant upgrading of our own presence and intervention in the sphere of Local Self-Government, reconfirming on a daily basis the militant nature and human-centred approach of our Party.
Guided by its ideological principles and taking into account the international trends as well as the political and economic conditions in our country, AKEL elaborated its own proposal for a progressive policy in education.
AKEL’s proposal aims at a vision of education with a human-centred nature and human content. This can be achieved by having:
- A progressive policy in education that would face the education system as a unified whole, be based on a set of scientific studies and pedagogical research, and safeguard the substantial participation of all education, political and social organized bodies in its elaboration;
- Free access to education and life-long education as necessary preconditions for the development of society, the upgrading of the quality of life, the averting of social marginalizing based on education and aggravation of social and education inequalities. AKEL considers education a fundamental social value, which should be safeguarded by public free education on all levels. Equal opportunities to education and the equalizing of possibilities of success for all can be safeguarded mainly by the successful tackling of the serious problems of functional illiteracy, school failure and untimely dropping out of school;
- A defining role played by the state as the guarantor of the quality of public education and the safeguarding of equal opportunities to education. Contrary to the neo-liberal philosophy, where market defines the terms of development of education, the proposal of AKEL gives priority to the social role of education and to the values of democracy, equality, social justice, solidarity, peace and ecological consciousness on the basis of which the education institutions are accountable to the social group;
- A multicultural education, creation of a productive link between national tradition and knowledge of other people’s culture. Strengthening the social solidarity and learning to cohabit and coexist. Respect the peculiarities of each people and accept the different, rejecting every form of nationalism, chauvinism and racism.
Dangerous deadlocks have been accumulated in Cyprus education. The high percentage of school failure and functional illiteracy, the constantly growing numbers of secondary school students drop-outs even before completing compulsory education, indicate the size of the crisis our education system goes through.
The social role of the state in education is limited due to the neo-liberal economic policy pursued by the government, which has nailed public spending at low levels. Conservative policy leads to the further degrading of public education and the strengthening of private education in all levels of education, with all the negative consequences for the working people and society in general.
At the dawn of the 21st century, education in Cyprus needs a new course that would be based on vision, strategy and collective effort. The sharp rise of expenditure in Education and research and a comprehensive, progressive reform of the education system, both in structure and content, are the basic preconditions for a qualitative upgrading and modernization of public education in Cyprus. We have in mind a reform that will promote radical changes in education, and fight the conservatism, anachronism and regress.
The restructuring of the system, the modernization of administration in education, the establishment of new services on a horizontal interdepartmental structure, decentralization and openness are necessary preconditions for the Cypriot education to meet the contemporary demands for planning, organization and evaluation of the way of functioning and of its results.
The increase in the use of “information technology” in society imposes the universal introduction of computers in education and the substantial use of the Internet.
At the same time, through continuous further education, the teachers should develop qualifications/abilities, which respond to the contemporary demands. No reform in education can be successful if it does not secure the participation and cooperation of the teachers.
Within this framework and taking into account the above parameters, it is necessary to promote changes that would embrace all levels of education, from Pre-School right to the University.
Pre-school education must be expanded to cover, in a public and free of charge framework, all children above the age of three. Pre-school education has to be legislated on, and the last year before enrolling to primary school should be included in compulsory education.
The “all-day school” (NOTE: now elementary schools give classes from 07:45 to 13:05 – in the all-day school the children will stay at school until 15:00 or 16:00) constitutes a significant innovation and there are serious education and social reasons in support of its implementation. However, this should be based on a comprehensive plan and the necessary material and technical infrastructure.
It is necessary to increase its duration, a defining factor for the future course of man’s basic, general, compulsory education through a unified ten-years-long school. An autonomous and democratic school with the perspective of examining the possibility to convert it into a 12-year-long unified polytechnic school for all young people.
The restructuring and modernization of the General Lyceum level (GL) and the Technical/Vocational Education (TVE) should take place irrespectively from further high education, based on free choice and the modern concepts that the term “general humanistic education” has a broader content, which includes also knowledge of technology. Qualitative upgrading, also by the introduction of new contemporary programmes and methods of teaching, should lead to the narrowing of the gap between the two types of schools. All graduates of GL and TVE should have outlet to higher education and to institutions of further vocational specialization and qualification.
Undoubtedly, a big share of the responsibility in the effort to meet contemporary challenges belongs to higher education. Free access, universality and the connection of further education to society and its needs constitute, in the present era, an imperative necessity. The elaboration of a Unified Higher Education backed by related legislation, autonomous concerning its administration and academic work that should include the University of Cyprus. The latter should expand by the establishment of new faculties (Medical, Law) and new departments, the new Technological University of applied Science and Arts, as well as of other schools of higher education, thus keeping in pace with the international applied practices. At the same time, the safeguarding of the right and the facilitation of access to postgraduate studies and not the restriction of the basis of social criteria constitute, in the era of the boom of knowledge and technology, a necessary prerequisite and a significant investment with direct and long-standing positive consequences for progress and development of society as a whole.
Next year elections will be held for the first time to elect School Boards On the basis of a draft bill drafted by AKEL. The significance of electing representatives, of democratisation and broadening of the powers of School Boards as it is provided by law, make these elections a significant landmark in relations to our policy in education.
We should aim to the election in the School Boards of people with real knowledge, Interest and possibility to offer in the current broad coordination that should use the experience from our presence, through our presence in parents’ associations and take into account local peculations.
Culture develops the spiritual, material and moral values of the people, their esthetic criteria, prototypes, quality and organization of their work, leisure time, r stand towards nature and other peoples, respect towards whatever significant and worthy exists in the local, national and universal heritage, resoluteness to work for the present and future of their country and humanity.
Having the above in mind, we consider that Culture, is of vital importance to every people and particularly to Cyprus, where the continuing Turkish occupation and the strong invasion of consumerism, commercialization of the arts, etc, impose the need to plan our cultural policy on an even more organized and systematic basis.
In the period between the 18th and 19th Congresses, AKEL has carried out a rich, many-sided activity on different levels and can pride of a lot of significant work in the Cultural sector.
AKEL has undertaken many initiatives, raised a lot of issues that concern Culture and its workers, had direct contacts with the peoples of Letters and the Arts, made specific proposals for its further development, and handed out to the Cypriot people a comprehensive proposal on Culture.
AKEL considers Culture a significant weapon of resistance against occupation and the attack from subculture. In this sense, the party considers that letters, arts and culture constitute an integral part of the ideological front in the broader political struggle, against disinformation, against distortion of history, against the deformation of the arts and the undermining of its significance.
The present administration has failed to raise the state’s contribution in the Cultural filed to a higher level. This is ascertained by the lack of cultural policy, the fragmentation of state and semi-state Cultural agencies, the minimum financial support to Culture.
AKEL’s proposals on the following issues become increasingly more topical:
- Establishment of a Unified Cultural Authority;
- Foundation of a Cultural Heritage Archive;
- Establishment of a Pool of Cultural Contribution;
- Establishment of a Cultural Council;
- Participation of representatives of this field in decision-making, etc.
AKEL believes that:
- Culture should become one of the state’s basic priorities, as a fundamental constituent element of our defence against occupation and subculture. More financial resources have to be allocated for cultural development.
- Local Self-Government has to be assisted in a decisive way to achieve a rational cultural development that will have continuity and consistency. Through the activity of Local Self-Government it is necessary to assist amateur creation and make the Cypriot writers, painters, etc, known. At the same time it is necessary to create the appropriate cultural infrastructure both in towns and in the rural areas.
- All party members, and particularly its cadres, have to become conscious of the great and defining role, which the arts, letters and culture in general, can play in the struggle of our people for freedom and social justice. All cadres have to realize the need to upgrade our cultural work. Culture is not the job of certain specialists, but of the whole Party. Therefore, attention and importance should be given to the promotion and substantial upgrading of the cultural activity in the Popular Movement local clubs, giving special importance to its content and the continuation of the formation of cultural bodies and Movements
- The Party’s work in publishing has to be strengthened further, by publications of cultural content. The “Nea Epochi” (New Era) journal should be strengthened and effort should be exerted to increase its circulation with more subscribers particularly from among party members. The cultural page of our daily “Haravgi” has to be given the necessary attention and its content upgraded. Issues concerning culture, the arts and letters should be included in the Party’s education programme.
- Undertake initiatives to foster the cooperation and common cultural events with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots working in this field. Present Cypriot culture abroad, using the Cypriot communities abroad, their unions, cultural and other clubs.
One of the basic aspects of the social policy of our party concerns Health. We have repeatedly raised the necessity to implement a National Health Plan carefully studied, which will respond to the needs and the demands of Cypriot reality.
A Health Plan that will provide equal opportunities for medical care to all the citizens irrespective of their socio-economic situation and place of residence, a plan that will secure the patient’s right to enjoy medical care by the doctor and the Clinic of his option.
The present government has submitted a Bill regarding the National Health Plan towards the end of last year although the experts had accomplished it long before. In 1994 the report of the committee of experts was also prepared, which stressed that the reorganisation of the direction and the organisation of the Health Ministry and of the public Hospitals should precede the creation and introduction of the N.H.P. so that the existing chaos would fade away. The plans for the New General hospital have also been ready since the end of 1992.
Until today no changes have taken place as concerns the and as a consequence the weaknesses and insufficiencies of the present system have not been confronted.
The Hospital for the Famagusta area is still at a designing stage despite the announcements of the government. The construction of Nicosia Hospital is expected to be completed by 2002 and it will cover needs in beds up to the year 2008. Basic clinics such as geriatrics, infectious diseases etc. have not been included.
The existing Rural Sanitary Centres have not been upgraded and new Clinics have not been constructed as this was provided in the experts’ studies. The inequality in the field of medical care between the centre and the suburb continues to persist.
Prevention is a basic element in the sector of Health.
The “new epidemics” such as HIV, cancer and drugs have made appeared in Cyprus.
It is the government’s duty and responsibility to establish a Department of Public Health that will deal seriously with the prevention. To start methodically and on the basis of a scheduled plan the examinations for breast cancer, uterus and large intestine cancer. To organise systematically seminars for the information of the youth about HIV and drugs. The Department of Public Health is the most competent body to deal with the issue Health and Environment. The atmospheric pollution, electromagnetic fields, medicines, and in nutrition products have grave consequences on people’s health and it is imperative that measures be taken.
Sports is a social phenomenon, which can and should be used in the correct entertainment and bringing up of young people, for the protection of the people’s health, as well as to present our country internationally, which is of great significance in the current particularly difficult conditions.
AKEL always paid attention to the correct organization, fostering and development of sports. Since the previous Congress the Party has been exerting efforts in the direction of upgrading and modernizing its intervention in the field of sports in Cyprus.
In the period under review, it has quite a few achievements, for which is has gained the respect of the Cypriot people. At the same time, however, we ascertain that there is a lot of room for development and we have to use the possibilities to the greatest possible extent.
Our effort in the next five-year period will be centered on the following tasks:
- Democratization – Reforming
- Although a proposal on the issue tabled by AKEL has been adopted by
the Parliament, it has not been made possible to implement it in practice. Those circles that seek to serve in all manner of ways their own interests still function in sports on the basis of party, financial and personal interests. The effort to dismantle them has to be pursued further.
- To promote the objective of democratization, the Cyprus Sports Organization Board, as well as other such bodies, have to be made up by unbiased individuals, who have the knowledge, abilities, time and disposition to contribute in a disinterested way.
- Sports Law has to be modernized and upgraded. AKEL will table specific proposals for the implementation of this objective.
- Cyprus sports, and football in particular, needs to be freed of mishandling and influence of party interests. AKEL shall play a leading role in this direction.
- Infrastructure – Development
- The Sports Department in the Ministry of Education has to be upgraded and
modernized in order to meet contemporary needs.
- A comprehensive evaluation of the situation in school sports has to be made and all-round efforts exerted to upgrade it and restore it as the nursery of competitive sports.
- The use of scientific staff in elementary education and the army has to be resolutely promoted. The same has to be done by the sports bodies.
- A plan has to be elaborated for the construction of sports premises that would satisfy the needs of sports in Cyprus.
These should, preferably, belong to the state and Local Self-Government and be accessible to the public.
- All financial resources necessary for its development have to be given to sports. In this direction, the incomes from LOTTO and PROTO (NOTE: the Greek equivalents for POOLS) have to be used. The State subsidy has to be defined by a proportional percentage of the State Budget.
- The financial situation of almost all large clubs and certain federations is worrying. The problem has to be tackled on the basis of a comprehensive and objective study.
- The further education of the people active in sports and of the sportsmen has to be permanent and continuous so as to give the opportunity to sports to reveal all its potentials. This can be achieved by the holding of seminars and symposiums.
- Mass sport needs to be further expanded and cover Local Self-Government and places of work.
- The checking of violence in the fields is a necessary precondition for the development and spreading of sports.
- All the above need to be specified more on the basis of the results of scientific research that will be made to this end.
ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
The human society – nature relationship has never been static or unaltered. In the “primitive” natural environment the human societies of each era built and still build a new environment “created by man”. In this process, the relationship of the human species to the totality of the other species and the ecosystem that surrounds it was, unfortunately, underestimated or even totally ignored. The competition between society and nature was manifested in an explosive manner, particularly with the development of capitalism. The distortion of the natural characteristics and the exhaustion of the planet’s natural resources tend to assume an irreversible character.
The greenhouse effect, distraction of the ozone layer, military armament and particularly the continuation of nuclear tests, the grave pollution of the atmosphere, land and seas, create an obvious danger for the future of human society on this planet. At the same time, the increased accumulation of population in urban centres has led to the loss of human scale, the limiting of necessary elements of social infrastructure and the erosion both of social structures and the ecosystems themselves.
Undoubtedly, ecological degradation is a result of our social system, a result of the inconsiderable capitalist development and the “super-profit rush”. In the name of “development” – economic, industrial, tourist even agricultural – we interfere in the natural environment, without studies and planning, destroying the vegetation, landscape, habitats and cultural heritage.
The development model pursued also in Cyprus after independence and particularly following 1974 (NOTE: after the Turkish invasion and occupation), coincided and still falls within this outdated framework. A large number of uncontrolled production processes have led, through the rush of easy profit, to the degradation not only of the natural environment but also of the landscape in general. Today, however, it is obvious that nature itself sets limits to development.
AKEL considers environment as a condition for the reproduction of human society. We consider that the neo-liberal concept that perceives natural environment only as an economic source functions as a “boomerang” for humanity. Development has to satisfy at the same time the criteria of economic feasibility as well as of social usefulness. The maintenance of environment demands the appropriate handling of natural ecosystems, in order to render the largest possible benefit to the contemporary society but at the same time also maintain their dynamism integral for the coming generations.
In this framework, AKEL considers that the understanding and adoption of a sustainable development model, based on the ecological exploitation of resources, constitute an immediate need in order to serve the real needs of society, not only for the present generation but also for the coming ones. The main objectives of our activity are the following:
- The long-term state planning with specific aims and the establishment of effective control and supervision mechanisms. Further and above the institutional and legal measures necessary for the control and production of specific environmental policy, it is imperative to organize control mechanisms for the implementation and efficiency of the various measures implemented.
- The choice of public financial measures that would function in this direction. For example, the stimuli given for decentralization and basic infrastructure works (both productive and social) can encourage a broadened development and the maintenance of a balance between rural and urban areas.
- The orientation of Education in the direction of sensitizing citizens over culture and our historical tradition, the understanding of the values of a different way of life and in general the encouraging of citizens’ participation in the formulation and exercise of environmental policies.
- Finally, the radical review of our concept of the town character as a first step in facing the constant degradation of the quality of life in these areas. Towns are something more than a simple addition of people and places. They dispose of a unique esthetic feeling and culture, which need protection and strengthening through modernization and conforming to the rules of town planning development.
AKEL appreciates in particular the development of an organized environmental movement in our country, expressed through the Federation of environmental and Ecological Organizations. It considers the movement’s contribution and activity as being positive, and will seek, in the future too, to strengthen cooperation with it on the basis of the common aims.
The role of Cypriots abroad in the present stage of our struggle for the solution of the Cyprus problem, assumes a particular importance, and it, therefore, should be placed on a more organized basis. At the same time, as a state we should deal more closely and in depth with the problems these Cypriots face in the countries where they live. More concretely:
- There should be a better organization and briefing – coordination of the Cypriots Abroad in order to use their services to a greater degree in the efforts to promote the Cyprus problem and to influence the relevant decisions taken in decision-making centres.
- The Service of Cypriots Abroad – should be reorganized and staffed, to enable it to meet the needs and problems faced by Cypriots Abroad.
- The Congresses of the World Federation of Cypriots Abroad and World Coordinating Committee for the Cypriot Struggle should become business-like congresses and not a forum for the self-promotion of certain individuals. They should become business-like congresses, which will discuss the problems Cypriots abroad face and provide solutions. To this end, the functioning of Work Groups should be promoted to prepare the Congresses.
- The Commissioner Responsible for Cypriots Abroad should dispose more effectively and in a useful way, and most of all without petty party expediencies, his time and efforts to achieve better coordination and use of Cypriots abroad.
- The contact and interest of the Cypriot state to the problems of Cypriots abroad have to be intensified.
- The unity of the Cypriot communities abroad has to be safeguarded. Interference onthe part of representatives of Cyprus Embassies, which spread discord, have to be terminated.
- The strengthening of relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the Communities of Cypriots abroad has to be resolutely promoted.
- The issue of Cypriots abroad has to be included in the more general activities of the Party. Their problems should be noted and solutions promoted.
Out of the more than five hundred thousand Cypriots living currently abroad, approximately forty thousand have returned.
For social, economic and political reasons our country should aim at the repatriation of a significant part of Cypriots living abroad. Attention has to be attached to the large number of academics and scientists living abroad as well as to the first generation of Cypriots abroad. The state has to face the problems with interest and care and give insentives to encourage their return and permanent settlement. Beyond the more general problems of learning the language, education, military service and health care where some steps have been made, the serious problems of employment, quick granting of citizenship without bureaucratic procedures, as well as issues concerning housing and the special state grant to first generation Cypriots abroad, whose low pensions do not permit them to own a house, are still to be resolved.
The care that has to be shown to repatriated Cypriots and their acceptance and re-integration in Cypriot society in a dignified manner, constitute a duty of our state and people. Those who were forced to emigrate during hard times need to be encouraged to return and contribute to Cyprus’ development.
AKEL is aware of the problems and wo;; give every assistance and support to our repatriated compatriots.
AKEL enters the new century full of faith and optimism for the future of humanity and Cyprus. We search the present and trace the future with a positive attitude. We march to a new era for Cyprus with feelings of responsibility and consistent to our 75-years-long history, expressing the hopes and expectations of our people. The “Thesis to the 19th Congress” constitutes a paper, a document, which expresses AKEL’s approaches, policy, experience and activity, and, at the same time, projects the specialized work carried out by the various Bureau, other sectors of the Party and of the Party as a whole.
The active participation in the formulation of Party policies is a party member’s fundamental right but also duty. The formulation of our policy in view of the Congress is one of the most important stages in party life. The Central Committee of AKEL sets before the party membership the “Thesis for the 19th Congress”, which was adopted at the Plenary Session of the C.C. on July 21st, 2000. It calls on every member to study it carefully and be involved in the discussion which will follow, both in the Party Group meetings and through the public dialogue in our daily “Haravgi”. The Central Committee is confident that the views of party members will enrich and strengthen the “Theses”.
The central Committee presents the “Theses to the 19th Congress” to the Cypriot people for consideration and debate. We are prepared to discuss and engage the “Theses” with society itself. We pursue and seek this dialogue in an effort to contribute, to the greatest possible extent, to the modernization and renewal of Cypriot society.
The discussions prior to the Congress and the work towards the Congress in general, are going to prepare the ground for a really successful Congress, which is going to set its mark on the further course of AKEL and on political and social developments in Cyprus.