Progressive Party of Working People
|General Secretary||Stefanos Stefanou|
|Founded||15 August 1926|
|Student wing||KKF Progressive|
|European affiliation||Party of the European Left (observer)|
|European Parliament group||The Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL|
|House of Representatives|
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The Progressive Party of Working People (Greek: Ανορθωτικό Κόμμα Εργαζόμενου Λαού, Anorthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú; abbr. ΑΚΕΛ, AKEL; Turkish: Emekçi Halkın İlerici Partisi) is a Marxist–Leninist communist party in Cyprus.
AKEL is one of the two major parties in Cyprus, and 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. Initially supportive of the Annan Plan in 2004, the AKEL ultimately opposed the plan because the UN Security Council did not provide guarantees on post-reunification security.
As a strong supporter of welfare benefits and nationalization, AKEL successfully put into practice several social measures to support the 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 that AKEL was in power, with various improvements made in social welfare provision. The party is now in opposition following the 2013 election. The party's candidate was defeated in the 2018 presidential election against the incumbent president.
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
- 1988–2009 Dimitris Christofias (6th President of the Republic of Cyprus)
- 2009–2021 Andros Kyprianou
- 2021-today Stefanos Stefanou
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 1950s, 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, serving in that post until 2006. His election 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 two members (Adamos Adamou and Kyriacos Triantaphyllides).
AKEL remained the largest political party in the 2006 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 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 received 34.9% of the votes, and again elected two out of Cyprus' six members (Kyriacos Triantaphyllides and Takis Hadjigeorgiou). In the 2014 election, they held their two seats with a reduced 27% of the vote.
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 2013 presidential election, Stavros Malas, who was supported by AKEL lost by a margin of 42.52% to 57.48%. In the 2018 presidential election, conservative president Nicos Anastasiades won a second five-year term with 56 percent of the vote. The AKEL-backed independent candidate, Stavros Malas, lost the election with 44 percent.
Niyazi Kızılyürek was elected to the European Parliament in 2019 for AKEL, making him the first Turkish-Cypriot to enter the European Parliament and thus breaking what was considered a taboo on the island. AKEL advocates the creation of a federal state in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would live together.
The party's youth wing is the United Democratic Youth Organisation, which was founded in 1959.
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- 2011–present Adamos Adamou
- 2007–2011 Dina Akkelidou
- 2006–2011 Aristos Aristotelous
- 2011–present Irene Charalambides
- 1991–2008 Dimitris Christofias
- 2011–present Aristos Damianou
- 2004–present Stella Demetriou Misiaouli
- 1981–1991 Pavlos Diglis
- 2001–present Stavros Evagorou
- 2006–present Andreas Fakontis
- 1970–1991 Andreas Fantis
- 2008–present Yiannakis Gavriel
- 1991–2011 Aristophanes Georgiou
- 2011–2019 Giorgos K. Georgiou
- 1996–2009 Takis Hadjigeorgiou
- 2003–2011 Dinos Hadjinicolas
- 2011–present Christakis Jovanis
- 1991–present Nicos Katsourides
- 2011–present Andreas Kafkalias
- 2011–present Kostas Kosta
- 2008–present Skevi Koukouma Koutra
- 2001–present Andros Kyprianou
- 2006–2011 Pambis Kiritsis
- 2001–present Yiannos Lamaris
- 1996–2003 Giorgos Lillikas
- 2011–present Giorgos Loucaides
- 2008-2011 Klavdios Mavrohannas
- 2001–2006 Eleni Mavrou
- 2011–present Christos Mesis
- 2006–2011 Andreas Mouskalis
- 2011–2016 Pambos Papageorgiou
- 1960–1988 Ezekias Papaioannou
- 1985–1991 Michalis Papapetrou
- 1970–1991 Georgios Savvides
- 2006–present Panikkos Stavrianos
- 1996–2011 Yannakis Thoma
- 1960–1991 Andreas Ziartides
- 2004–2009 Adamos Adamou
- 2004–2014 Kyriacos Triantaphyllides
- 2009–2019 Takis Hadjigeorgiou
- 2014–2019 Neoklis Sylikiotis
- 2019–present Niyazi Kızılyürek
- 2019–present Giorgos K. Georgiou
- Kades, Andria (4 July 2021). "Stephanos Stephanou elected as Akel's new secretary-general with 72% of votes". Cyprus Mail.
- Nordsieck, Wolfram (2016). "Cyprus". Parties and Elections in Europe.
- Anastasiou, Harry (2008). The Broken Olive Branch: Nationalism versus Europeanization]. Syracuse UP. p. 163. ISBN 9780815631972.
- "Annual report 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "Annual report 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- Dunphy, Richard (2007). "Red Flag Still Flying? Explaining AKEL – Cyprus's Communist Anomaly". Party Politics. 13 (3). doi:10.1177/1354068807071268. S2CID 145498752.
- "Cypriotism in the Twenty-First Century". 17 August 2018.
- Papadakis, Yiannis; Peristianis, Nicos; Welz, Gisela (18 July 2016). Divided Cyprus: Modernity, History, and an Island in Conflict. Indiana University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-253-11191-3. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
This is admittedly a rough division that focuses on the largest parties in Cyprus: left-wing AKEL on the Greek Cypriot side...
- Uwe Backes, Patrick Moreau, Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, ISBN 9783525369128, p. 268 ss.
- Helena Smith, Cyprus gets ready for a communist 'takeover', The Guardian, 2008
- Wright, George (22 April 2004). "Greek Cypriot leaders reject Annan plan". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
The AKEL communist party had earlier suggested it might throw its weight behind the Annan plan and help turn around the widespread antipathy of the Greek-Cypriot south. But today its leadership said it had decided to oppose the plan because the UN security council had not provided guarantees on post-reunification security.
- "Ο νέος ΓΓ του ΑΚΕΛ (3) « Faros's Weblog". Faros.wordpress.com. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H. "Communism and Economic Development", in The American Political Science Review, volume 62, number 1, March 1968, page 122.
- "Cypriot victor rallies for unity". BBC News. 24 February 2008.
- https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/f/c/82242.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "Aνησυχεί το ΑΚΕΛ για την πορεία της Ε.Ε." YouTube. 3 April 2013. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Cyprus election: Nicos Anastasiades elected president". BBC News. 25 February 2013.
- "Celebrations as Cypriot president wins re-election".
- Kambas, Michele (22 May 2016). "Cyprus parliamentary vote puts far-right in parliament". Reuters.
- "Cyprus elects first Turkish Cypriot to European Parliament".
- 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 Trade 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 (also available in Greek and Turkish)