Progressive Party of Working People
Published 3rd May, 2011
The Progressive Party of Working People or AKEL was originally the Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC) which held its first congress in 1926. The Communist Party was declared illegal by the British authorities in 1931 and was reconstituted as AKEL in 1941.
After WWII the party took on a pro-soviet Marxist-Leninist approach and was banned again by the British in 1951. Legalised again in 1959 it consolidated its position after independence in 1960 and in 1976 formed a coalition government with the Democratic Party (DIKO) and the Movement for Social Democracy (EDEK).
In 1981 AKEL was the largest party with 12 of the then 35 seats in the House of Representatives. But in 1985 AKEL slipped to third place winning 15 seats in an enlarged parliament of 56 seats.
In 1991 AKEL took 18 seats and was the second largest party in parliament. At the same time, as communism collapsed across Europe and with the fall of the Soviet Union, AKEL decided to adopt a more democratic socialist doctrine.
In 1996 they came second again to the Democratic Rally but in 2001 took 20 seats with 34.7% of the vote and became the largest party. In 2006 AKEL took 18 seats, the same number as the Democratic Rally.
In 2008, for the first time, an AKEL candidate, Dimitris Christofias won the Presidential election taking 53.37% of the vote in a second round runoff.
The Progressive Party of Working People describes itself as a communist party which supports an independent demilitarised and non-aligned Cyprus. It supports a rapprochement with the Turkish Cypriots and supported membership of the European Union.
The AKEL is a member of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left in the European Parliament and an observer party of the Party of the European Left.