Progressive Party of Working People

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Progressive Party of Working People
Ανορθωτικό Κόμμα Εργαζόμενου Λαού
Emekçi Halkın İlerici Partisi
General SecretaryStefanos Stefanou[1]
Founded15 August 1926 (97 years ago) (1926-08-15)
Student wingKKF Progressive
Youth wingEDON
Women's wingPOGO
Labour wingPEO
Political positionLeft-wing[3][9][10] to far-left[11]
European affiliationParty of the European Left (observer)
International affiliationIMCWP
European Parliament groupThe Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL
Colours  Red
House of Representatives
15 / 56
European Parliament
2 / 6
Municipal Councils
123 / 478

The Progressive Party of Working People (Greek: Ανορθωτικό Κόμμα Εργαζόμενου Λαού, Anorthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú; abbr. ΑΚΕΛ, AKEL; Turkish: Emekçi Halkın İlerici Partisi) is a Marxist–Leninist[4][5][12] communist party[2][3] in Cyprus.

AKEL is one of the two major parties in Cyprus, and it supports a federal solution of the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem and 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.[13]

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.[4][5] The party has been in opposition since the 2013 election. The party's candidate was defeated in the 2018 presidential election against the incumbent president. For the 2023 presidential election, the party supported independent candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis, who was also defeated.[14]


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 the Cyprus revolt 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:

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 EOKA's 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 d'état following his death.

Foreign Minister of Greece Stavros Lambrinidis and President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias during his tenure in New York City in October 2011

About 1958, the Turkish Cypriot nationalist organization TMT started forcing Turkish Cypriots members of AKEL to leave. Editor of a workers' newspaper Fazıl Önder was killed and the head of the Turkish bureau of PEO (AKEL's 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, Derviş 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).[16]

Recent history[edit]

Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas (to the right) and leader of AKEL Andros Kyprianou
AKEL headquarters in Nicosia, Cyprus

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, AKEL's 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%.[17]

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.[18]

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".[19]

In the 2013 presidential election, Stavros Malas, who was supported by AKEL lost by a margin of 42.52% to 57.48%.[20] In the 2018 presidential election, conservative president Nicos Anastasiades won a second five-year term with 56 percent of the vote. The AKEL-backed independent candidate, Stavros Malas, lost the election with 44 percent.[21]

In 2016 legislative election AKEL was the second largest party with 25.7 percent of the vote, 7 percent less than the previous election.[22]

Niyazi Kızılyürek was elected to the European Parliament in 2019 for AKEL, making him the first Turkish-Cypriot to enter the European Parliament and thus breaking what was considered a taboo on the island. AKEL advocates the creation of a federal state in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would live together.[23]


AKEL youth conference in 1984 in Nicosia

The party's youth wing is the United Democratic Youth Organisation, which was founded in 1959.

Election results[edit]


House of Representatives
Election Votes Seats
# % Rank # ±
1960 51,719 35.0 2nd new
1970 68,229 34.1 1st Increase 4
1976 With DIKO and EDEK Steady 0
1981 95,364 32.8 1st Increase 3
1985 87,628 27.4 3rd Increase 3
1991 104,771 30.6 2nd Increase 3
1996 121,958 33.0 2nd Increase 1
2001 142,648 34.7 1st Increase 1
2006 131,237 31.1 1st Decrease 2
2011 132,171 32.7 2nd Increase 1
2016 90,204 25.7 2nd Decrease 3
2021 79,913 22.3 2nd Decrease 1

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election Votes Seats
# % Rank # ±
2004 93,212 27.9 2nd new
2009 106,922 34.9 2nd Steady 0
2014 69,852 27.0 2nd Steady 0
2019 77.241 27.5 2nd Steady 0

AKEL MPs[edit]

AKEL MEPs[edit]



  1. ^ Kades, Andria (4 July 2021). "Stephanos Stephanou elected as Akel's new secretary-general with 72% of votes". Cyprus Mail.
  2. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2016). "Cyprus". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  3. ^ a b c Anastasiou, Harry (2008). The Broken Olive Branch: Nationalism versus Europeanization]. Syracuse UP. p. 163. ISBN 9780815631972.
  4. ^ a b c "Annual report 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Annual report 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Cypriotism in the Twenty-First Century". 17 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Cypriotism in the Twenty-First Century". 17 August 2018.
  8. ^ Dunphy, Richard (2007). "Red Flag Still Flying? Explaining AKEL – Cyprus's Communist Anomaly". Party Politics. 13 (3). doi:10.1177/1354068807071268. S2CID 145498752.
  9. ^ Papadakis, Yiannis; Peristianis, Nicos; Welz, Gisela (18 July 2016). Divided Cyprus: Modernity, History, and an Island in Conflict. Indiana University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-253-11191-3. Retrieved 25 October 2020. This is admittedly a rough division that focuses on the largest parties in Cyprus: left-wing AKEL on the Greek Cypriot side...
  10. ^ Uwe Backes, Patrick Moreau, Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, ISBN 9783525369128, p. 268 ss.
  11. ^ Contemporary Far Left Parties in Europe From Marxism to the Mainstream? Luke March, 2008, P.4
  12. ^ Helena Smith, Cyprus gets ready for a communist 'takeover', The Guardian, 2008
  13. ^ Wright, George (22 April 2004). "Greek Cypriot leaders reject Annan plan". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2019. The AKEL communist party had earlier suggested it might throw its weight behind the Annan plan and help turn around the widespread antipathy of the Greek-Cypriot south. But today its leadership said it had decided to oppose the plan because the UN security council had not provided guarantees on post-reunification security.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Ο νέος ΓΓ του ΑΚΕΛ (3) « Faros's Weblog". 21 January 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  16. ^ Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H. "Communism and Economic Development", in The American Political Science Review, volume 62, number 1, March 1968, page 122.
  17. ^ "Cypriot victor rallies for unity". BBC News. 24 February 2008.
  18. ^[bare URL PDF]
  19. ^ "Aνησυχεί το ΑΚΕΛ για την πορεία της Ε.Ε." YouTube. 3 April 2013. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Cyprus election: Nicos Anastasiades elected president". BBC News. 25 February 2013.
  21. ^ "Celebrations as Cypriot president wins re-election".
  22. ^ Kambas, Michele (22 May 2016). "Cyprus parliamentary vote puts far-right in parliament". Reuters.
  23. ^ "Cyprus elects first Turkish Cypriot to European Parliament".


  • Panayiotou, A. (2006) "Lenin in the Coffee-Shop: The Communist Alternative and Forms of non-Western Modernity", Postcolonial Studies, 9, 3, pp. 267–280.
  • Adams (1971) AKEL: The Communist Party of Cyprus. California: Hoover Press
  • Lefkis, G. (1984) Roots (Limassol).
  • Fantis (2005) The Cypriot Trade Union Movement During the Period of British Colonialism (Nicosia)
  • Servas (1985, 1991) Responsibilities (Athens, Grammi).
  • 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.
  • Philippou, Lambros (2010) "The Cypriot Paradox: The Communist Way Towards Political Liberalism", Cyprus Review, 22, 1, pp. 129–149.
  • Δίγκλης, Παύλος (2010) ΑΚΕΛ. Με τόλμη και παρρησία: Προσωπικές μαρτυρίες. Εκδόσεις Επιφανίου. ISBN 978-9963-685-80-6

External links[edit]