Progressive Party of Working People

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Progressive Party of Working People
General Secretary Andros Kyprianou
Founded 1926
Headquarters Nicosia, Cyprus
Newspaper Haravgi
Youth wing EDON
Ideology Communism[1]
Marxism–Leninism[2]
Political position Left-wing[3]
International affiliation International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
European affiliation Party of the European Left (Observer)
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red
House of Representatives
19 / 56
European Parliament
2 / 6
Website
akel.org.cy
Politics of Cyprus
Political parties
Elections

The Progressive Party of Working People (Greek: Ανορθωτικό Κόμμα Εργαζόμενου Λαού, Anorthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú, AKEL; Turkish: Emekçi Halkın İlerici Partisi) is a communist party in Cyprus. It supports an independent, demilitarized and non-aligned Cyprus, and a federal solution of the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem. It places particular emphasis on rapprochement with the Turkish Cypriots. It supported entry into the European Union with certain reservations. AKEL also supported the Annan Plan in 2004, but at the end they decided for a negative response, since they did not have time to formulate response to the plan. AKEL has successfully put into practice several socialist measures to support economic welfare of Cypriots during the late-2000s financial crisis, such as increasing low pensions by 30% and strengthening the welfare benefits given to university students to €12 million per year. Overall, €1.2 billion were spent on welfare benefits during the first three years of AKEL in power, with various improvements made in social welfare provision.[4][5]

History[edit]

It was founded in 1926 with the name Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC). The communist party set as its aim not only the struggle against exploitation but also the independence of Cyprus from British rule. The party became illegal in 1931 when the British colonial government imposed restrictions on civil rights following a nationalist riot. In 1941, leading members of the underground communist party and others founded AKEL. In the first municipal elections in 1943 (before that mayors were appointed) AKEL candidates became mayors of Limassol (Ploutis Servas) and Famagusta (Adam Adamantos).

List of general secretaries:

Unlike its predecessor, AKEL was not against Enosis. Instead AKEL supported a gradual process, starting off with a constitution and self-government while Cyprus would remain a colony, leading to self-determination and Enosis. After the failure of the consultative assembly in 1949 to grant a constitution acceptable to the Cypriot members, AKEL changed line, supporting immediate Enosis with no intermediate stages.

During the late fifties, AKEL was opposed to the violent tactics followed by the anti-British resistance movement of EOKA. EOKA accused AKEL of being collaborators with the British, even though AKEL had also been illegal since 1955. Several AKEL members were assassinated by EOKA at the time for being "traitors," including AKEL-supporter Savas Menikou who was stoned to death. AKEL denounced EOKA's leadership as being anti-communist, as its leader George Grivas had fought against the communist side during the Greek Civil War. Grivas later founded EOKA B, which supported the 1974 coup d'état following his death.

Foreign Minister of Greece Stavros Lambrinidis and President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias during his tenure in New York City, United States of America in October 2011

About 1958, the Turkish Cypriot nationalist organization TMT started forcing Turkish Cypriots members of AKEL to leave. Editor of a workers newspaper Fazıl Önder was killed and the head of the Turkish bureau of PEO (AKEL's trade union) Ahmet Sadi moved to the UK to save his life.

In the first presidential elections for independent Cyprus, AKEL backed Ioannis Kliridis (father of Glafkos Klerides) against Makarios III. The last Turkish Cypriot to be a member of the central committee of AKEL, Derviş Ali Kavazoğlu, was killed by TMT in 1965.

In the mid 1990s the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 10,000 (3.25% of the working age population).[7]

Recent history[edit]

Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas (to the right) and leader of AKEL Andros Kyprianou
AKEL headquarters in Nicosia, Cyprus

At the legislative elections on 27 May 2001, the party won 34.7% of the popular vote and 20 out of 56 seats. After this election, AKEL's General Secretary, Dimitris Christofias, was elected as President of the House of Representatives and until 2006, for first time in the History of Republic of Cyprus. He was supported by AKEL, Movement for Social Democracy (EDEK), and the Democratic Party (DIKO).

AKEL is a member of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left political group in the European Parliament, and it is considered to be moderately eurosceptic. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, and in the 2004 European parliament election, AKEL elected 2 members (Adamos Adamou and Kyriacos Triantaphyllides.)

AKEL remained the largest political party in the 2006 Cypriot legislative elections; however, the party lost two seats, winning 18 seats with 31.31% of the vote.

In the second round presidential election held on 24 February 2008 Dimitris Christofias, General Secretary of AKEL, was elected President of the Republic of Cyprus. Christofias won 53.36% of the vote against his right-wing opponent Ioannis Kasoulidis' 46.64%.[8]

On 21 January 2009, Andros Kyprianou was elected general secretary of the party with 54.3% in the central committee election.

In the 2009 election to the European Parliament, AKEL managed to gain 34.9% of the votes, and again elected 2 out of Cyprus' 6 members (Kyriacos Triantaphyllides and Takis Hadjigeorgiou.) In the 2014 election, they held their two seats with a reduced 27% of the vote.

In the 22 May 2011 Cypriot legislative election KEL gained 32.67% of the votes, and elected 19 out of the 56 members of parliament.

In an interview with Athens News Agency party leader Andros Kyprianou said that AKEL was considering Cyprus' exit from the eurozone, saying "it is an option on the table" but that it will require "study and planning."[9]

In the Cypriot presidential election of 2013 the AKEL leader Stavros Malas lost 42.52% to 57.48%.

Youth[edit]

Akel youth conference in 1984 in Nicosia

The party’s youth wing is the United Democratic Youth Organisation which was founded in 1959.

Electoral results[edit]

Parliament[edit]

House of Representatives
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
1960 51,719 35.0 (#2)
5 / 50
5 / 35
1970 68,229 34.1 (#1)
9 / 35
Increase 4
1976 95,364 32.8
9 / 35
Increase 3
Cartel with DF and MSD, which won 21 and 4 seats respectively.
1981 95,364 32.8 (#1)
12 / 35
Increase 3
1985 87,628 27.4 (#3)
15 / 56
Increase 3
1991 104,771 30.6 (#2)
18 / 56
Increase 3
1996 121,958 33.0 (#2)
19 / 56
Increase 1
2001 142,648 34.7 (#1)
20 / 56
Increase 1
2006 131,237 31.1 (#1)
18 / 56
Decrease 2
2011 132,171 32.67 (#2)
19 / 56
Increase 1

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
2004 93,212 27.89 (#2)
2 / 6
2009 106,922 34.9 (#2)
2 / 6
Steady 0

AKEL MPs[edit]

AKEL MEPs[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ Smith, Helena (24 February 2008). "Cyprus gets ready for a communist 'takeover'". London: The Observer. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Papadakis, Y, Peristianis, N, & Welz, G (2006) Divided Cyprus: Modernity, History, and an Island in Conflict, p80
  4. ^ http://www.socialprotection.eu/files_db/1100/asisp_ANR11_Cyprus.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.socialprotection.eu/files_db/886/asisp_ANR10_Cyprus.pdf
  6. ^ "Ο νέος ΓΓ του ΑΚΕΛ (3) « Faros's Weblog". Faros.wordpress.com. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  7. ^ Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H.. Communism and Economic Development, in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 62, No. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 122.
  8. ^ "Cypriot victor rallies for unity". BBC News. 24 February 2008. 
  9. ^ Aνησυχεί το ΑΚΕΛ για την πορεία της Ε.Ε.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Panayiotou, A. (2006) "Lenin in the Coffee-Shop: The Communist Alternative and Forms of non-Western Modernity" Postcolonial Studies, 9, 3, pp. 267–280.
  • Adams (1971) AKEL: The Communist Party of Cyprus. California: Hoover Press
  • Lefkis, G. (1984) Roots (Limassol).
  • Fantis (2005) The Cypriot Tade Union Movement During the Period of British Colonialism (Nicosia)
  • Servas (1985, 1991) Responsibilities (Athens, Grammi).
  • Peristianis (2006) "The Rise of the Left and Intra-Ethnic Cleavages" in Faustmann, H. and Peristianis, N. (ed.), Britain in Cyprus, Colonialism and Post-colonialism 1878-2006. Mannheim, Bibliopolis.
  • Philippou, Lambros (2010) "The Cypriot Paradox: The Communist Way Towards Political Liberalism" Cyprus Review, 22, 1, pp. 129–149.
  • Δίγκλης, Παύλος (2010) ΑΚΕΛ. Με τόλμη και παρρησία: Προσωπικές μαρτυρίες. Εκδόσεις Επιφανίου. ISBN 978-9963-685-80-6

External links[edit]