ⓘ Progressive Party of Working People
The Progressive Party of Working People, Anorthotiko Komma Ergazomenou Laou ; Turkish: Emekçi Halkın Ilerici Partisi) is a Marxist–Leninist, communist political 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 partys 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:
- 2009–present Andros Kyprianou
- 1936-1945 Ploutis Servas
- 1949-1988 Ezekias Papaioannou a veteran of the Spanish Civil War
- 1945-1949 Fifis Ioannou
- 1988-2009 Dimitris Christofias 6th President of the Republic of Cyprus
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 EOKAs 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 detat 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 Onder was killed and the head of the Turkish bureau of PEO AKELs 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, Dervis Ali Kavazoğlu, was killed by TMT in 1965.
In the mid 1960s the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 10.000 3.25% of the working age population.
1.1. History Recent history
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, AKELs 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 the 22 May 2011 legislative election AKEL received 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 2013 presidential election, the AKEL candidate Stavros Malas lost by a margin of 42.52% to 57.48%.
2. AKEL MEPs
- 2019-present Niyazi Kızılyurek
- 2009–2019 Takis Hadjigeorgiou
- 2004-2009 Adamos Adamou
- 2004-2014 Kyriacos Triantaphyllides
- 2019-present Giorgos Georgiou
- 2014–2019 Neoklis Sylikiotis
- Servas 1985, 1991 Responsibilities Athens, Grammi.
- Panayiotou, A. 2006 "Lenin in the Coffee-Shop: The Communist Alternative and Forms of non-Western Modernity", Postcolonial Studies, 9, 3, pp. 267–280.
- Philippou, Lambros 2010 "The Cypriot Paradox: The Communist Way Towards Political Liberalism", Cyprus Review, 22, 1, pp. 129–149.
- Adams 1971 AKEL: The Communist Party of Cyprus. California: Hoover Press
- Fantis 2005 The Cypriot Trade Union Movement During the Period of British Colonialism Nicosia
- Lefkis, G. 1984 Roots Limassol.
- 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.
- Δίγκλης, Παύλος 2010 ΑΚΕΛ. Με τόλμη και παρρησία: Προσωπικές μαρτυρίες. Εκδόσεις Επιφανίου. ISBN 978-9963-685-80-6