Cyprus Alive spoke with Mr. Anastasios Kyriakou Shakallis, about his candidacy for the next parliamentary elections of May 30th, 2021. You can read the interview below.
1) Mr. Shakalli, what made you decide to run for the next parliamentary elections?
I have given up on the way our country is governed.
Irresponsibility, sloppiness, injustice, bribery, indifference, unworthiness, partisanship and many other things that happen in the outdated state system make me more and more angry.
I can no longer tolerate this situation and for me it was a one-way street. I had to do something or I would feel guilty about this downfall that our country is taking.
2) Do you feel you are suitable for this position? If so, what do you base this on?
Yes, I think I am suitable because I have experience, knowledge and the will to serve society in the best way for the best possible result.
My active involvement with the public for 30 years has equipped me enough for the position of being a representative of the people. I have organisational and creative skills, which I can make the most of for the benefit of society as a whole.
I want, I can and I know how to make a difference.
3) Tell us a few words about yourself.
I was born in 1971 in occupied Makrasyka, Famagusta, I grew up in Dasaki Achnas, experiencing first hand the consequences of the Turkish invasion and occupation.
At the age of 14 I started working in a hotel, graduated from a Hotel School, served in the National Guard and by the age of 21 I was looking for a better future. I opened my own advertising agency believing in my abilities and especially in my organisation and creativity. With hard work, my small office has grown into an organised advertising company and I have been working there with my wife for 28 years.
At the same time, I have always had a very strong interest in the public. In 1992, I was one of the pioneers of the dance group of the Achna Forest Youth Centre, in 1996 I founded the "Makrasika Association", I am the co-founder of the "Friends of Lagia" association, I am a coordinator of the "neighbourhood observers", a member of parent associations and on the Board of Directors of the "Cyprus Association for Sustainable Tourism" (CSTI).
I am married, I have 3 children and now live in Aradippou.
4) What are your personal goals and what are your priorities?
My personal goals and priorities are based on 3 pillars.
1. Changing the system of internal governance for the better because that is what we are entitled to and that is what we must have. The problems of the current internal governance makes situations more difficult for all citizens on a daily basis and that is why I put it first.
2. To upgrade the Education system, after all it does all start with education. I regret to state that I find myself noticing that the government does not do what has to be done to offer the best possible education in our country.
3. The vindication of the refugees, as they are the main ones that have been wronged by the Turkish invasion and occupation for the last 46 years.
5) In addition to your goals and expectations, do you have any specific solutions that can actually be implemented?
I have a lot of ideas that I want to implement but everything on its own time. Some of my ideas have already been included in the official positions of our Movement. However, I would like to focus on my biggest idea which, if implemented, will drastically change the way the country operates. I have given a title to this idea, I have named it Real Democracy Online and it is based on the participation of the citizens in all the governance processes. With Real Democracy Online, citizens will be able to exercise control, complain, suggest and comment on anything related to state processes and our daily lives. The idea is fully feasible as long as there is real will from the majority of the parliament but also from the executive power. You can ready about my idea in full on my website www.realdemocracyonline.com
6) In your opinion, what is the main problem we have in Cyprus?
Apart from the Cyprus problem, the bigger problem we have is the functionality of our government and state as a whole. Unfortunately, we are far behind in all areas in this regard and we are moving to the lowest positions in Europe regarding state functionality.
Since the founding of the Republic of Cyprus until today, state leaders, ministers, directors, deputy directors of ministries, heads of departments and so on, in my opinion, do not meet the criteria of a leader, a real executive. Most have taken this position by the so-called "meson" meaning that they got the job because of the people they know, so many civil servants live and serve daily with unworthiness, and irresponsibility. There are no incentives or pressure levers for real progress and development. All this unfortunately stems from the culture that has developed within the old and big parties of Cyprus. In short, the biggest problem in Cyprus, for me, is partisanship.
7) What do you think is missing from politicians today?
First of all, I would like to mention that in Cyprus, politicians have been misunderstood due to a portion of politicians who rob the state system and reap personal or partisan benefits. Politicians are people who work for the good of society as a whole, often deprived of important goods, such as family moments, peace and quiet.
What is missing from Cyprus are the real political leaders, who are role models and who inspire confidence in the people.
8) Why did you choose the Independent Movement and not a new or old party?
The reason I chose the Independent Movement is because, in my opinion, it is the only Movement that has the most chances to bring the best result in the elections as well as after the elections. In our Movement, Anna Theologou has set the course, who has been fighting for 5 years for the good of society and never for personal or party benefits. The people who make up the Movement are active citizens who have faith and will to bring change and hope to our country. I did not want to join an existing party, as I feel that the old parties are part of the problem, but neither do I want to join a completely unexperienced movement that would build its politics on theories.
9) How do you envision Cyprus if you achieve the change you desire?
If we manage as an "Independent" movement to transfer our positions to the majority of the parliament and the executive power, I envision Cyprus geographically still being in the Mediterranean but functionally being between Europe and Scandinavia.
My vision is for the state to respect the citizens, the citizens the state and each other. If we get to this point you will realise that we will have a better Cyprus…for everyone!
Thank you very much Mr. Shakallis and we wish you all the best. We are confident that only young people like you can bring about the change we so desperately need.