Defeated DISY candidate claims rivals bought votes

By Martin Hellicar

DEFEATED DISY candidate Christos Rotsas yesterday claimed others had succeeded where he had failed in Sunday’s parliamentary elections only by buying votes.

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou called on Attorney-general Alecos Markides immediately to investigate the claims. Markides told the Cyprus Mail he had asked Rotsas to substantiate his vote buying claims.

“It is well-known that there were promises of financial help,” Rotsas told CyBC radio. “Candidates gave cash and promised more if they were voted in,” the governing party’s ex deputy charged.

Rotsas, who made it into the last parliament when he replaced Socratis Hasikos after the latter became Defence Minister, said vote buying was an “isolated” practice. Rotsas also said such corrupt practices had been the election campaign’s worst kept secret: “Everybody knows about this,” he said. But he refused to name names.

“I was surprised that a large section of our electorate was prepared to sell its holy right to vote,” the DISY man said. He ironically suggested the fault lay more with the voters who sold their votes than the politicians who bought them: “In any case, those who bought the votes did well to do so, since voters were prepared to sell them.”

Rotsas said his aim in airing his allegations was to make people think, not to seek prosecution of vote buyers: “No, I will not take the matter further, ” he said.

New DISY deputy Ionnas Nicolaou said was not surprised by Rotsas’ allegations, as he too had heard rumours of vote buying.

Government Spokesman Papapetrou, whose United Democrats party crashed in Sunday’s election, was not nearly as laid back about the matter as Rotsas and Nicolaou.

“These are very serious allegations. Mr Rotsas, or anyone else making such claims, must immediately submit his complaints and I think the Attorney- general should investigate the matter off his own bat,” Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

Markides said he would only investigate the matter if Rotsas was prepared to back up his claims. “I have written to Mr Rotsas asking him to clarify what his complaint is,” Markides said yesterday afternoon.