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Akel congress on Sunday will formally support Malas bid

The Central Committee of left-wing opposition party Akel has unanimously endorsed the party’s proposal for Sunday’s extraordinary Pancyprian congress in support of Stavros Malas’ presidential candidacy.

According to Phileleftheros daily, Friday’s brief Central Committee meeting lasted about an hour with markedly low participation by members.

Among those present was Venizelos Zannetos, in his first official appearance as Committee member, since being released from prison, thanks to a presidential pardon, on August 10.

Zanettos had been arrested in October 2013 in connection with the high-profile case concerning the purchase by the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority’s pension fund of a land plot in Dromolaxia at an inflated price.

He had been elected to Akel’s Central Committee in 2015 while still in jail.

The party’s extraordinary Pancyprian Congress will begin on Sunday with participant registration at 9.15 am, and open at 10 am.

 

Malas – a former health minister and geneticist – had run on Akel’s ticket in 2013 and lost to right-wing Disy-backed President Nicos Anastasiades, who will officially announce his bid for re-election on October 14. Disy is the island’s largest party.

Pundits say it will be tough, but not impossible for Malas to make it to February’s presidential election second round, with Anastasiades – most probably – as his rival again.

The presidency is also being contested by hard-line centre Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos who enjoys the support of socialist Edek and MEP Eleni Theocharous’ Solidarity Movement.

As well as by Citizens Alliance leader George Lillikas, who is unbacked by any parliamentary party yet.

Lillikas had run again for president in 2013 and had come in third, with an honourable enough percentage and without support from any party.

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