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Cyprus FM Christodoulides Resigns Eying Presidency

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides
Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides (right) talks recently to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Credit: Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, released a statement on Sunday revealing that he had tendered his resignation several days ago and hinted at a possible bid for the presidency at the 2023 elections.

In statements at the Foreign Ministry, in Nicosia, Christodoulides expressed his interest in the 2023 presidential elections, pointing out that the time for decisions has not come yet. Early and long pre-election periods are counterproductive, he said, noting that he would proceed with an announcement after taking his final decisions.

“I can honestly state that I would be interested in the presidential elections of 2023, especially if my nomination can lead to broader co-operations,” said the outgoing minister.

“I submitted my resignation to the President of the Republic several days ago, who accepted it on Friday morning, with effect from Tuesday, January 11, 2022. I want to warmly thank the President of the Republic for his trust and for the opportunity he gave me to serve my country from the high office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but also previously as Director of his Diplomatic Office and as Government Spokesman. I am very grateful to him,” said Christodoulides.

He noted that his resignation was the result of a series of events and attitudes, public and otherwise, that have taken place recently, which “inevitably and unfortunately affect the serious work that the government has to do, including that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Christodoulides’ long academic and diplomatic career

Christodoulides was born on 6 December 1973 in Paphos, Cyprus.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, economics, Byzantine and Modern Greek studies from Queens College, City University of New York, a master’s degree in political science from New York University and another in diplomatic studies from the University of Malta at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies.

He also holds a doctorate from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens.

He began as a career diplomat in 1999 and served as one until 2013.

During this period he served as director of the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, spokesperson of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Cyprus in Greece, director of the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and consul general at the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in the United Kingdom.

Veteran diplomat Kasoulides to succeed at the post of FM of Cyprus

Ioannis Kasoulides, Christodoulides’ predecessor as Foreign Minister, will also succeed him at the post. Kasoulides is very experienced having served as head of the Foreign Ministry for a total of 11 years (1997-2003, 2013-2018).

He was distinguished for his work in the peace talks with Turkey. Born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1948, Kasoulides studied medicine at the University of Lyon where he graduated in 1974 with MD.

From 1975 until 1981, he served as a doctor in a hospital and a lecturer in London. From 1981 until 1993, he practiced medicine in Nicosia.

However, Kasoulides’ interest in politics won, as the doctor served the Democratic Rally in various roles, including that of Chair of the party’s Youth Organization.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kasoulides oversaw Cyprus’ EU integration process. In June 2004, Kasoulides was elected as a member of the European Parliament. He sat on the Foreign Affairs Committee and was a substitute on the Transport and Tourism Committee.

Kasoulides held various other European Parliament committee positions, including the Presidency of the ad hoc Delegation for the Human Rights in Western Sahara. He sat as a Member of the Bureau of the European People Party until November 2007, when he stood as a candidate for the Presidency of Cyprus.

Kasoulides ran for President in the 2008 presidential election. He won the first round but lost in the second to Demetris Christofias.

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