By Andreas C Chrysafis
I have carefully been watching events in Cyprus unfolding like an onion that brings tears into one’s eyes. What is most disturbing is the fact that there is a cat and mouse game being played with a stench of duplicity in the air. There appears to be urgency and a well-coordinated scheme by internal and international forces to “resolve” the Cyprus issue before next year’s May elections. Everyone is talking about an imminent “solution” in the pipeline and steps are taken to ensure it would not be delayed. The tightening of the noose has begun with fervor. One way or another, if the government gets its way it will be imposed as the “solution” of the century.
Is there a link as to why the government has decided to eliminate the small political parties from parliament six months before the elections? Afraid of rejection the right-wing party chairman has recently introduced a sneaky and cunning Bill in Parliament (passed) to ensure that the government would be guaranteed to win the vote for its proposed Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF).
Negotiations without transparency however do trigger speculation!
The current hype can be summed up as surreptitious; surreptitious because citizens have no idea what’s being concocted on their behalf! For three years those discussions have been shrouded in a cloud of secrecy on the premise that: the less people know, the less likely they are to cause civil disobedience or resistance.
One may equally argue that an elected government has the legitimacy to decide what is best for the country! That is not always the case!
A government’s mandate sanctioned by the people, is to govern the affairs of the nation for a limited period in the interests of the country but no government, politician or parliament has the legitimacy to break up the basic fabric of the nation without the overwhelming consent of the people. That’s an integral part of democracy and such consent can only be endorsed via a Referendum!
What is worrying, in most cases the principle of voting is manipulated to allow the political parties to surreptitiously “approve” or “reject” the outcome of such fundamental issues. With secretive deals held behind closed doors the BBF Bill if brought to the floor would certainly be approved. By reducing the number of parties in parliament the government would be in a good position to control the outcome of the vote – one can control the few but certainly not the many!
The likely scenario is evident: the President of Cyprus under some pretext “in the interest of the nation” would exercise his presidential privilege and drop the Referendum altogether fearful it would receive a similar fate as the old Annan Plan did; rejection by 76% of the people! For him it’s a big gamble personally and he’s not prepared to risk another humiliating defeat. Ideologically his Europhile DYSI party and a closely-knit group would do anything to avert a failure.
If however, a fair solution were agreed to meet the demands of the people under one unified nation instead of a two state-apartheid-style solution (BBF) that would be most welcome. Imposing on Cypriots a flawed agreement (like the forced Zurich Agreement did for Cyprus) would not do, but would create additional problems with unforeseeable consequences in the future.
In fact, the main problem and obstacle to peace is Turkey that cannot be trusted, and not one between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots who are now both victims of Sultan Erdogan’s vision of a new Ottoman Sunni Empire.
Unfortunately both sides have miserably failed to prepare the groundwork or the minds of the people to introduce effective unification policies and bring the two sides closer together. No Revolution of the Mind has been sought to resolve the issue, instead, both leadership and visionless politicians have failed for many years to reunite the island.
This is the reason why the public can no longer trust politicians and why it is imperative to inform citizens the terms of the BBF negotiated agreement with full transparency well in advance. Then, they can decide and tell the government what is best for them and the country! A well-informed citizen would ultimately make a well-informed decision and not leave it to chance.
A Referendum is nothing less than a Peoples’ Veto against ill-conceived government policies, and which truly belongs to the people!
The BBF is one of those complex agreements that demand public consent for no government has the legitimacy to destroy the Republic of Cyprus unless it has the overwhelming approval of the people. For that reason alone, it is more important today than any other time to demand the Right to Decide in a nation-wide Referendum.
Time is of the essence!
Andreas C Chrysafis
Author – Writer – Artist