Without being drawn into the intricacies of Cyprus’ domestic political developments, let alone those taking place within the governing Democratic Rally party itself, the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides leads to a certain level of turbulence that is not beneficial to the national cause, the aspirations of Cypriots to see their homeland reunited.
This premature jostling ahead of the country’s presidential elections in 2023 is simply not helpful to Nicosia.
Citizens of the Republic of Cyprus will decide who should lead their country after the 10-year term of President Nicos Anastasiades comes to end, next February. But they will do so when the time comes. It is far too soon for Cyprus to be entering a peculiar and prolonged pre-election period when the geopolitical reality of the region is so volatile.
In a confluence of events where Turkey’s aggression creates serious consternation and worries about how events might develop, especially ahead of presidential elections in that country as well – and with the nationalist rumblings of some in Ankara growing louder – the last thing Cyprus needs over the coming period is personal animosities, (intra)party conflict, and divisions of any kind.
On the contrary, what is required is unity, or at the very least some sense of coming together. There are too many open fronts, and they are all critical. From short-term developments, which include planned drilling in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, to midterm strategic goals, like the evolving prospects of the EastMed gas pipeline project.
And all of this with the pandemic still raging and testing the resilience of Cypriot society.
The only positive aspect in this fluid and worrisome situation following the resignation of Christodoulides is that there will be no uncertainty or vacuum as Ioannis Kasoulides will once again be at the helm of Cypriot foreign policy.
The presence of the very experienced and internationally respected predecessor of Christodoulides, who has served as foreign minister twice (1997-2003, 2013-2018), as well as member of the European Parliament (2004-2013), is a guarantee of stability, continuity, and harmonious cooperation with Athens. All these are necessary as we are faced with a potentially explosive setup ahead of next year’s elections in Turkey.