What do I think of the upcoming May 22 elections? Not much. We see braying men and women as well as braying donkeys; senseless loud talking is none other than braying and we hear plenty of that, but no substance; politics has been reduced down to vocal slugging matches without dignity.
The electorate is none the wiser but this time there is a breed of young candidates on the scene to spice things up. Every party has nominated new faces to show they have changed their ways – no such chance. One would expect to hear fresh ideas and show that things are moving in the right direction but that’s not happening.
With the exception of some, most are a younger version of the established Kommatokratia and political victims with no free minds.
There are 600 candidates and 12 parties that seek 56 parliamentary seats. In most western democracies 2-3 parties is the maximum but not so in Cyprus; the more political pens the merrier – divide and rule!
It makes one wonder how some of those neophytes and others alike can believe they are capable of running the biggest corporation of the land – the country itself – without training or experience whatsoever? This is madness.
Doctors, scientists and academics demand years of training before they are allowed to practice, why not the politicians? It’s not comprehensible to have military academies to train people to kill and yet, we do not have academies to prepare and train people to govern. Electing the right politician is like playing Russian roulette; the odds are always against the electorate. It’s no wonder countries end up in a mess – Cyprus included.
Abstentions will be very high again this year. The disastrous troika bail-in will play a critical role on the outcome of the elections. The Anastasiades government has to accept the consequences of its inexcusable decision to steal people’s money in order to save a corrupt banking system. People are not so forgiving, and will probably punish the government and its dogmatic right-wing party at the polls – that is, if people do decide to go out and vote at all.
Under EU qualified majority voting law, abstention votes count as ‘against’. The same practice should also apply during elections; people’s white/blank protest votes should count as a vote ‘against’ under horizontal voting. Such a fair democratic system does not exist in Cyprus. The rule by Kommatokratia all these years has in fact produced terrible results and will continue to do so if not dramatically changed.
Without a radical mind-set to introduce a revolution of the mind and establish an ‘Academy for Political Leadership’ filled with the mightiest brains in the land – like the autonomous public Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) governed by Act – to produce excellence of national importance based on meritocracy – there will always be inferior leadership in Cyprus and an army of half-baked politicians governing the nation.
Cypriot and foreign experts on constitutional matters, top academics and esteemed professors with a powerful brainpower can be gathered together to ponder on such a novel scheme of establishing a visionary academy in Cyprus where candidates graduate with political degrees before being allowed to even contemplate putting their names up for election or being considered for a political career. In time, a brilliant political catharsis will prevail in the interest of the country and not in the interest of the political parties.
Plato’s brainstorm of philosopher rulers inspired Louis XIV to set up ‘Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques’ in France (1712). The academy’s aim was to train young diplomats to excel in their chosen political careers, eventually growing to become Napoleon Bonaparte’s famous Institute de France.
To succeed it demands the will to excel well above where all others have failed. Such a dream may be wishful thinking but not impossible. There is a long, long road ahead before such a vision can take root where petty politics have always worked against the nation.
Thankfully, there is hope for a better tomorrow; a tomorrow to see a new breed of leadership that may rise out of the ashes of despair and political incompetence.
* Andreas C. Chrisafis is an author, freelance writer and artist. This article is published in Neos Kosmos as part of ‘The Revolution of the Mind’ series.