Following his triumphant re-election for a second term as president of the Republic of Cyprus, and free from the election procedure’s anxieties, Nicos Anastasiades now faces the challenge of leaving his mark on the Eastern Mediterranean island’s history. Is he determined to make one more – possibly the last – effort to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem that would be as fair, viable and workable as possible?
Does he want to do it? If so, can he reach an agreement that will be acceptable to the Greek-Cypriot community?
Anastasiades faces a number of other challenges. They include dealing with Ankara’s dispute of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone. The exploration efforts to utilize its hydrocarbons proceeds should continue as his focused, low-key approach and results-oriented cooperation with energy giants including American ExxonMobil, French Total and Italian ENI, among others, has proven successful. Another focus point will be the continuation of the Cypriot economy’s positive course – which is a major reason behind his re-election – and the fulfillment of his pledge for a cabinet that will be broadly accepted.
The people he chooses will make a difference. His first dilemma is what to do with Nikos Christodoulides, his right-hand man over the past few years who has proven to be much more than just a government spokesman. Will he appoint him as foreign minister or will he keep him at the Presidential Palace?
And then will he reappoint the rest of the young, results-oriented team, including the ministers of finance (Harris Georgiades), energy (Georgios Lakkotrypis), defense (Christoforos Fokaidis) and health (George Pamporidis), that is credited with the successful first term – at least that is what the voters seemed to say.
Although to a great extent the election campaign focused on the past, blaming people and parties for the decisions, choices and actions of previous governments – particularly the economic problems that led to the bailout, well as the impasse of talks at Crans-Montana – Cypriot citizens have their eyes firmly on the future. That is what the re-elected president is being asked to do too. As he will not seek re-election, he will be judged not by voters, but by history itself.