Independent presidential candidate Achilleas Demetriades on Monday presented his ten priorities for a modern social state aiming at reducing inequalities and injustice and ensuring a dignified standard of living for all.
Speaking at a press conference today (Monday 19/12) held at the House of Arts and Letters in Larnaca, Achilleas Demetriades outlined his 10 priorities covering health, education, equality, the migration issue, the rights of the LGBTQ community and culture. His vision is of a “modern welfare state, with quality health services for all, social inclusion and solidarity, a modern, inclusive education system, the combatting of discrimination and support for the family,” he stressed.
As regards health, Mr Demetriades voiced support for Gesy (the general health system), focusing on the need to correct weaknesses, safeguard its viability, address abuses, upgrade state hospitals, evaluate the quality of health services and establish a national pharmaceutical body. He also proposed improving home care as well as care for the elderly with means-tested subsidies and through the establishment of long-term care facilities.
Referring to education, Achilleas Demetriades backed progressive educational reform by expanding all-day schooling, starting from pre-primary and primary schools, as well as boosting thematic and model schools. He voiced support for secular schooling, that focuses on human-centered subject matter and cultivates critical thinking and skills that will enable young people to enter the modern labour market. He also spoke in favour of inclusive schools so that no child is marginalized. He particularly emphasized the need of a new legislative framework based on the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
With reference to gender equality, Achilleas Demetriades proposed an ambitious policy of 50-50 representation in the Council of Ministers and the boards of semi-government organisations. He also voiced support for including women in the negotiating team for the Cyprus issue, implementation of EU Directives on the participation of women in the private sector and temporary quotas on candidate lists in parliamentary elections.
On migration, he proposed the speedier processing of new asylum applications within three to six months by recruiting 300 qualified personnel who will also be assigned to clear the backlog of applications that have piled up over the years. He underlined his opposition to barbed wires, noting that this was an ineffective measure that was paid for by Cypriot tax payers.
Achilleas Demetriades proposed integration policies for beneficiaries of international protection with work and language training programmes. He also proposed that the current policy of paying benefits be replaced with that of offering work so that asylum seekers can contribute to society during their temporary stay in Cyprus.
As regards combatting discrimination, Demetriades recalled his long-standing efforts to decriminalize homosexuality and said same-sex couples should be able to enter into a civil marriage and adopt children, stressing that the same preconditions should apply as in the case of heterosexual couples, as every child has the right to grow up in a loving home rather than in an orphanage. He also referred to the need for a revision of the legal framework on hate speech to ensure equal treatment for all population groups that could fall victim to it.
Finally, Mr Demetriades referred to culture, voicing support to those working in the creative sector. He proposed increased subsidies for cultural bodies, protection of labour rights, adherence to and effective monitoring of the implementation of the law for 1% for artists as well as the drawing up of a strategy for culture with the aim of making creative work the property of every student and member of the public through the use of modern technology.
MEETING WITH LARNACA MAYOR
After the press conference, Achilleas Demetriades, who was accompanied by President of the “Ammoxostos gia tin Kypro” (Famagusta for Cyprus) party Perdios Karoullas and by Michalakis Rafael from Demetriades’ Political Office, had a meeting with Larnaca Mayor Andreas Byras, at the Town Hall, during which he outlined his positions while the Mayor presented projects underway in Larnaca town and District.
19 December, 2022