1991 was the beginning of a decisive shift that would lead to the rapprochement of DIKO and DISY and a change in their hostile relations. DIKO and DISY have been opposing political forces since their inception, with the former party taking a hostile stance against DISY and mainly his chairman, Glafcos Clerides. Through their cooperation, DIKO, AKEL and EDEK had exploited the plurality electoral system in the 1976 elections and excluded DISY from Parliament. The party that received 27.6% did not elect any MPs.

DISY made a goodwill gesture by choosing to vote and elect in June 1991 Alexis Galanos, vice-chairman of DIKO, President of the Parliament. The two parties subsequently allied forces in the December 1991 municipal elections, with DISY making generous offers to DIKO, and supporting numerous candidates for mayors. The co-operation did not foresee any follow-up, despite the fact that the DISY side had put forward the idea that it was intended to support a joint candidate in the presidential elections, expected 14 months later.

Glafkos Clerides was nominated by DISY candidate for the 1993 presidential election, after he defeated his challenger Giannakis Matsis, in an intra-party vote, in April 1992. Soon after this development, Spyros Kyprianou, the president of DIKO said his party would never back Clerides’ candidacy for the Presidency of the State.

This position affected led to failure efforts by the two parties to find common ground for the 1993 elections. DIKO then turned to EDEK in order to set the ground for a joint presidential candidate. The search for a candidate was a difficult process, which resulted in the nomination of Paschalis Paschalides, in September 1992. Paschalides was a close associate of Makarios as Secretary of the Ethnarchy and Minister of Commerce and Industry to the 1959 Transitional Government that would lead Cyprus to Independence. He became chairman of the Hellenic Mining Company and other companies that were ‘donated’ to the Greek community of Cyprus, but became property of the Church of Cyprus.

Veteran journalist / cartoonist Giorgos Mavrogenis and doctor Yiannis Taliotis also submitted their candidacy.

The support that Glafcos Clerides and his party provided to President Vassiliou for his handling of the Cyprus issue came to an end in October 1992. While the United Nations were discussing with the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots a set of proposals known as the “Gali Ideas”, DISY found itself in the camp opposing these ideas. Clerides promised not to accept any agreement that the President would endorse.

Private television was a new factor in the conduct of the election campaign. In April 1992 the television channel ‘The Logos’, which was owned by the Church of Cyprus, was licensed and started operating. The channel played an important role in the fight against the candidacy of George Vassiliou and the Gali Ideas. A new weapon candidates had at their disposal was also political advertising on television.

The key elements of each candidate’s bid to promote their positions were as follows: George Vassiliou underlined the trust of the people he was enjoying, repeating the slogan “President of all Cypriots” for a common struggle in Cyprus “for justice and return” (implying the return of displaced to their homes). In television advertising, he portrayed Cyprus as a modern country that was not jealous of other well-known, developed countries, in contrast to criticisms by Glafkos Clerides. For his part, Glafcos Clerides focused on the “power of (his) experience” with a view to seek meritocracy, good governance and security within the European Community. A key element of Clerides’ effort was also criticism of Vassiliou for failing to apply for Cyprus’ membership to the European Community in a timely manner, filing the application in 1990 instead of earlier.

The Front of Fighting Forces – Μέτωπο Αγωνιστικών Δυνάμεων, as the DIKO-EDEK alliance was called, also fought against Vassiliou’s ideas and efforts in the handling of the Cyprus Problem. Paschalides also argued that Vassiliou and Clerides were essentially in agreement and only the Front pursued a patriotic policy against the Gali Ideas. Its main motto was “For the Salvation of Cyprus” from the “catastrophic Gali Ideas”. In the Front’s television advertisement, the starting point was the day the EOKA fighters of the anti-colonial struggle returned to Cyprus, and the independence of Cyprus in 1960. The message was that the fight was “continuing through today”.

The three candidates appeared in two television debates, and were repeatedly given the opportunity to present their positions on individual appearances, while also receiving extensive media coverage.

The results proved devastating for the Front of Fighting Forces, as Paschalis Paschalides received only 18.7%, lower than DIKO’s own share in May 1991 (19.7%). George Vassiliou’s percentage surpassed all expectations (44.2%), while Glafkos Clerides secured 36.7%, about one point higher than DISY in 1991.

George Vassiliou, extremely happy by his high percentage, stated arrogantly that if he were in Clerides’s position he would quit the election. Soon after the announcement of the results, Spyros Kyprianou, leaving aside his differences with Clerides and previous positions, announced full support for Clerides’ candidacy in the second round. EDEK took a neutral stand by telling citizens to “follow their conscience” and choose accordingly.

Glafkos Clerides refused to engage in a televised duel with George Vassiliou, and his supporters made a strong effort using every means in order to persuade voters to vote for Clerides.

Glafcos Clerides won the election and the presidency, with just over two thousand votes ahead of his opponent.