Progressive Party of Working People
|Progressive Party of Working People|
|General Secretary||Andros Kyprianou|
|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|
|House of Representatives|
|Politics of Cyprus
The Progressive Party of Working People (Greek: Ανορθωτικό Κόμμα Εργαζόμενου Λαού, Anorthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú, AKEL; Turkish: Emekçi Halkın İlerici Partisi) is a communist political party in Cyprus. Following its 2008 electoral victory, the party became the first (and so far only) communist party to have ruled a Western European[a] country as a senior coalition partner.
AKEL 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.
As a strong supporter of welfare benefits and nationalization, AKEL has successfully put into practice several social 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. However, critics have attributed the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis to the AKEL government's mismanagement of the country's status as a financial haven. The party is now in opposition following the 2013 election.
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:
- 1936–1945 Ploutis Servas
- 1945–1949 Fifis Ioannou
- 1949–1988 Ezekias Papaioannou (a veteran of the Spanish Civil War)
- 1988–2009 Dimitris Christofias (6th President of the Republic of Cyprus)
- 2009–present Andros Kyprianou
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.
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.
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%.
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."
In the Cypriot presidential election of 2013 the AKEL leader Stavros Malas lost 42.52% to 57.48%.
The party’s youth wing is the United Democratic Youth Organisation which was founded in 1959.
|House of Representatives|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
|Cartel with DF and MSD, which won 21 and 4 seats respectively.|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
- 2011-Ongoing Adamos Adamou
- 2007-2011 Dina Akkelidou
- 2006-2011 Aristos Aristotelous
- 2011-Ongoing Irere Charalambides
- 1991-2008 Dimitris Christofias
- 2011-Ongoing Aristos Damianou
- 2004-Ongoing Stella Demetriou Misiaouli
- 1981-1991 Pavlos Diglis
- 2001-Ongoing Stavros Evagorou
- 2006-Ongoing Andreas Fakontis
- 1970-1991 Andreas Fantis
- 2008-Ongoing Yiannakis Gavriel
- 1991-2011 Aristophanes Georgiou
- 2011-Ongoing Giorgos K. Georgiou
- 1996-2009 Takis Hadjigeorgiou
- 2003-2011 Dinos Hadjinicolas
- 2011-Ongoing Christakis Jovanis
- 1991-Ongoing Nicos Katsourides
- 2011-Ongoing Andreas Kafkalias
- 2011-Ongoing Kostas Kosta
- 2008-Ongoing Skevi Koukouma Koutra
- 2001-Ongoing Andros Kyprianou
- 2006-2011 Pambis Kiritsis
- 2001-Ongoing Yiannos Lamaris
- 1996-2003 Giorgos Lillikas
- 2011-Ongoing Giorgos Loucaides
- 2008-2011 Klavdios Mavrohannas
- 2001-2006 Eleni Mavrou
- 2011-Ongoing Christos Mesis
- 2006-2011 Andreas Mouskalis
- 2011-Ongoing Pambos Papageorgiou
- 1960-1988 Ezekias Papaioannou
- 1985-1991 Michalis Papapetrou
- 1970-1991 Georgios Savvides
- 2006-Ongoing Panikkos Stavrianos
- 1996-2011 Yannakis Thoma
- 1960-1991 Andreas Ziartides
- Cyprus is considered to be "Western European" under political definitions.
- Papadakis, Y, Peristianis, N, & Welz, G (2006) Divided Cyprus: Modernity, History, and an Island in Conflict, p80
- Uwe Backes; Patrick Moreau (2008). Communist and Post-communist Parties in Europe. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 259, 268, 272–274. ISBN 978-3-525-36912-8.
- "Ο νέος ΓΓ του ΑΚΕΛ (3) « Faros's Weblog". Faros.wordpress.com. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H.. Communism and Economic Development, in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 62, No. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 122.
- "Cypriot victor rallies for unity". BBC News. 24 February 2008.
- Aνησυχεί το ΑΚΕΛ για την πορεία της Ε.Ε.
- 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
- AKEL's website in English (Greek, English and Turkish)