Delicate balance for newly elected Cyprus president

Delicate balance for newly elected  Cyprus president

The election of Nikos Christodoulides to the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus is a new development in the island nation’s political scene as it was done, for the first time, without the the support of the two major parties – Democratic Rally (DISY) and communist-rooted AKEL.

The catalyst for his election was first and foremost the base of DISY which rallied behind him in the second round, but also the voters of the far-right party ELAM.

Christodoulides has made it clear that his goal is a broadly acceptable government with 50% women in the cabinet, and young people who have not previously served.

He is expected to use executives from the parties that supported him, but also people from civil society.

Regarding the individuals he will select, he is currently keeping his cards close to his chest.

His main challenge will be his alliances in Parliament and there are concerns that legislation may be difficult to pass given the fact he is supported by a small minority of parties in the House (16 MPs out of 56).

This will depend to a large degree on the stance of the DISY opposition. Already the right-wing party has called an election congress. If DISY President Averof Neofytou is re-elected, then the Christodoulides government may face serious challenges.

He will also face the challenge of reaching an understanding with the parties supporting him, given that there are several political disagreements either on economic issues or on the Cyprus problem.

Among the first moves he will make is to get the Cyprus issue back on track, asking the European Union to take a more active role as a mediator.

Another significant issue is migration, with the first act being the creation of a State Ministry of Migration. He has already made it clear that Cyprus’ orientation is Western and will remain so, while on economic issues he has warned that he will not experiment.

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