A new initiative called ‘Friends of The Cyprus Community of NSW’ has been launched in direct response to the Community’s recent election of its new Board of Directors.
During the elections on Sunday, May 29, ten candidates received the highest number of votes but according to the Community’s Constitution, only nine of these ten candidates could be elected on the Board of Directors.
Following a review by the Election Committee, which commenced on Tuesday, June 7 and concluded on Wednesday, June 8, the nine successful candidates were announced. They included Andrew Costa as President, Andreas Pantziaros as Vice President, Costa Argyrou as Treasurer, and Roula Christodoulides as Secretary, among others.
Over 60 members of ‘The Friends’ initiative allege this recent election was ‘invalid’ and they have lodged an appeal which calls for new elections to be held to maintain “democracy, honesty and transparency” within the Cypriot community.
‘We’re still waiting for an Appeals Conference’:
According to spokeswoman for ‘The Friends,’ Christina Efthymiades, Article 40b of the Community’s Constitution states that appeals against the election result lodged by members need to be dealt with by a Conference.
This Conference must be in the presence of the outgoing President, which in this instance is Spiro Constantinou, all members of the Election Committee and the Appellant.
Ms Efthymiades tells The Greek Herald that despite the efforts of those who have appealed, certain members of the Election Committee have refused to take part in the Conference and the appeals lodged by members remain unaddressed.
“There’s quite a few of us who are really concerned and upset about the way that the elections were conducted… We feel that a number of the actions of the election committee were both unethical and, in some instances, illegal,” Ms Efthymiades says.
“We’re still waiting for an Appeals Conference and this is now more than a month after the election so with no going forward at all with our appeals, we decided to at least try to form ‘The Friends’ so that we can raise awareness with the public about what’s actually going on.”
The Community responds:
In a letter seen by The Greek Herald, members of ‘The Friends’ claim two members of the six-person Election Committee “reopened the ballot box, conducted a recount of the votes and changed the election results two days after the election,” and they also allege the new board wrongly assumed their positions before the election appeal process has been dealt with.
Mr Constantinou, who served as President of the Community since 2019 until he lost by a single vote this year, also spoke to The Daily Telegraph recently. He alleged there remain issues surrounding the election, which could require legal avenues.
“The main issue is that our constitution says there should be nine directors,” Mr Constantinou said in the interview.
“Four people were tied on equal votes, so we’ve elected 10 new directors but our constitution only allows for nine… It’s not clear yet if there are provisions in our constitution that can regulate this sort of outcome.”
In response, newly elected President, Andrew Costa, has rejected any accusations of issues with the result, stating that all relevant legislation had been adhered to.
“The election process was guided not only by our constitution, but also by relevant legislation and Clubs NSW,” Mr Costa told The Daily Telegraph.
Speaking to The Greek Herald earlier this month, Mr Costa said the future of the Community remains on track with the new board and their priorities will remain focused on retaining memberships and progressing the rezoning process of The Cyprus Club at Stanmore.
“We want to honour and celebrate our members and their achievements. There are many ideas and now we need the time and support of the members to realise them,” Mr Costa concluded.