FORMER CYPRUS PRESIDENT CHRISTOFIAS DIES

Former Cypriot President Demetris Christofias died on Friday 21st June at Nicosia General Hospital, a month after he was hospitalised for acute breathing problems. He was 72.

Earlier on Friday his doctor, Michalis Minas told the Cyprus News Agency that the former president died at 5:36 pm local time.

Christofias served a single five-year term as Cyprus’ sixth President from 2008 until 2013.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades confirmed his predecessor’s death expressing “deep sorrow.” Anastasiades said he and Christofias may have been on divergent political paths, but he did what he thought was best for his country.

Condolences to Christofias’ family poured in from Greek Cypriot political leaders as well as the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots Mustafa Akinci, who tweeted, (translated), “With great sadness, I’ve been made aware of the death of Demetris Christofias, a former Greek Cypriot leader and former General Secretary of AKEL. I express my sincere condolences to his wife and his three children, to the AKEL family and to the Greek Cypriot community in general.”

One of Cyprus’ best-known politicians, Christofias was born in Dikomo in the Kyrenia District, on 29th August 1946, and educated in Cyprus and Moscow.

First elected a member of parliament for Kyrenia in 1991, he was elected president of the House of Representatives in 2001. It was during his second term as speaker that he was elected president of the Republic in 2008.

Christofias was the only Cypriot president not to seek re-election, citing his failure to achieve his “life’s vision” of reunifying the country that had been split since Turkey invaded in 1974.

Christofias’ “man-of-the-people” persona endeared him to many.

He underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in 1999, in which the donor was his sister. He also had open-heart surgery earlier in the same year.

John Kyriakides, Chairman of LGR, said, “I am really saddened to learn of the death of Demetris. He was a good friend of LGR and I will keep fond memories of the former Cyprus President.”

An Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting was held on Saturday chaired by President Anastasiades confirming that the funeral of the former President will take place on Tuesday 25th┬áJune at the Holy Church of God’s Wisdom, in Strovolos, at 1700 local time.

After the meeting, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the Cabinet have declared national mourning until the day of the funeral, which will also be a public holiday.

Flags will fly at half-mast on all government buildings and schools.

Mr Christofias is survived by his wife, Elsie, two daughters, a son and grandchildren.

LGR express their sincere condolences to family and friends.


Article written by London Greek Radio