|Preceded by Tassos Papadopoulos|
Preceded by Ezekias Papaioannou
Succeeded by Nicos Anastasiades
Succeeded by Andros Kyprianou
|Preceded by Spyros Kyprianou|
Name Demetris Christofias
Succeeded by Marios Garoyian
Spouse Elsie Chiratou (m. 1972)
|Role Former President of Cyprus|
Education Russian Academy of Sciences
Party Progressive Party of Working People
Previous office President of Cyprus (2008–2013)
Presidential term February 28, 2008 – February 28, 2013
Children Christos Christofias, Marianna Christofias, Christina Christofias
Pm netanyahu meets with president of cyprus demetris christofias in jerusalem 14 3 11
Demetris Christofias, also spelled Dimitris Christofias (Greek: Δημήτρης Χριστόφιας [ðiˈmitɾis xɾiˈstofças]; born 29 August 1946), is a Greek Cypriot former politician who was the sixth President of Cyprus from 2008 to 2013. Christofias was the General Secretary of AKEL, the Communist Party of Cyprus, and was the European Union's and Cyprus' first, and so far only, Communist head of state. He won the 2008 Cypriot presidential elections in the second round of voting. Throughout the election campaign, he pledged to restart talks with Turkish Cypriots in order to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute and reunify the island. He has also supported the closure of the British military bases on Cyprus.
- Pm netanyahu meets with president of cyprus demetris christofias in jerusalem 14 3 11
- Demetris christofias wins cyprus presidential election 2008
- Public figure
- Rise to local leadership
- 2008 presidential election
Demetris christofias wins cyprus presidential election 2008
Demetris Christofias was born in Dhikomo in the Kyrenia District of Cyprus, in the area that has been under military occupation by Turkey since 1974. He received his secondary-school education at Nicosia Commercial Lyceum, from which he graduated in 1964. At the age of 14, he joined the progressive secondary-school students organisation, PEOM, and at the age of 18, he joined EDON (AKEL's United Democratic Youth Organisation), PEO Trade Unions, and AKEL. In 1969, at the 5th Congress of EDON, he was elected member of the Central Council.
Christofias spent five years in Moscow in the Soviet Union where he studied at the Institute of Social Sciences, Academy of Social Sciences, from which he received a degree in history. In addition to his native Greek, he speaks Russian and English. In Moscow he met his wife and later returned to Cyprus and political life. Christofias married Elsi Chiratou in 1972 and they have three children: two daughters, Marianna and Christina; and a son, Christos. He is allegedly an atheist, a public pronouncement unprecedented by a political leader in overwhelmingly Orthodox Cyprus.
In 1974 Christofias was elected to the post of the Central Organising Secretary of EDON and in 1977 to the post of General Secretary. He served in the latter post until 1987. In 1976 he was elected as a member of the Nicosia-Kyrenia District Committee of AKEL, and in 1982 – at the 15th Congress of AKEL – he was elected as a member of the Central Committee of the Party.
In July 1986 Christofias was elected as an alternate member of the Political Bureau of AKEL. After the 16th Congress of AKEL, held in November 1986, he was elected as a full member of the Political Bureau, and in 1987 (after terminating his service as General Secretary of EDON) he was elected as a member of the AKEL Secretariat. In April 1988, following the death of Ezekias Papaioannou, he was elected as General Secretary of AKEL, a post he held until 2009.
Rise to local leadership
Christofias was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives for the first time in 1991 and was re-elected in the subsequent parliamentary elections of 1996 and 2001. On 7 June 2001, he was elected as President of the House of Representatives. He was re-elected as President of the House of Representatives in 2006. In his function as General Secretary of AKEL and President of the House of Representatives, he was a Member of the National Council, a supreme advisory body to the President of the Republic.
Christofias was ex-officio chairman of the House Standing Committee on Selection and chairman of the ad hoc House Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and of the Special House Standing Committee on Declaration and Examination of Property. He was also president of the executive committees of the Cyprus group to the Inter-Parliamentary Union and of the Cyprus branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
2008 presidential election
The first round of the February 2008 presidential election, held on 17 February, saw a close result between the three leading candidates—Christofias, Ioannis Kasoulides of DISY, and the incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos—Christofias narrowly placing second with 33.3% of the vote, behind Kasoulidis with 33.5%. Christofias and Kasoulidis participated in a second round on February 24 for which Christofias received the backing of Papadopoulos's party, DIKO. Christofias went on to win the election with 53.37% of the vote. After his success he pledged to restart talks to find a solution to reunify the island. In addressing a jubilant crowd in the Cyprus capital Nicosia's streets the new president-elect said he looked forward to "substantial cooperation for the benefit of both communities". "Tomorrow, a new day begins. We will see many difficulties ahead of us. As of tomorrow, we unite our forces...to achieve the reunification of our country".
Christofias was sworn in as President at a ceremony in the House of Representatives on 28 February 2008, vowing that "the solution of the Cyprus problem will be the top priority of my government". Although proud to be a communist, he said he would leave the free market economy alone. While much of the focus beyond Cyprus was on Christofias's communist background and education in Moscow, on the island voters were more concerned with a solution to Europe's longest running conflict—the island's partition since 1974.
On February 29, 2008, Christofias proceeded to appoint his government. Christofias' first government was a coalition between his own party AKEL, Marios Garoyian's Democratic Party and Yiannakis Omirou's Movement for Social Democracy. Christofias started talks with Mehmet Ali Talat on the reunification of Cyprus as a bizonal federal state, but his hopes for Greek Cypriot approval of such a plan were soon scotched by the nationalists' victory in Northern Cyprus' 2009 parliamentary elections.
On July 28, 2011, Cyprus's cabinet tendered its resignation bowing to political and public pressure after a massive munitions blast at Evangelos Florakis Naval Base on July 11 2011 threatened to force the island into asking for an EU bailout. Apparently he was not aware that the power plant was next to the naval base, even though he drove past it each time to go to his village where he had his first job as a barista. President Christofias asked the people of Cyprus in his speech not to re-live episodes of the 1974 invasion, as crowds of citizens demanded his resignation over his alleged involvement in the blast. Both EDEK and DIKO had withdrawn their support for Christofias by the beginning of August 2011.
On 3 October 2011, the results of the investigation regarding the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion were released to the public, placing the blame for the incident mainly on President Christofias, holding him “personally and institutionally responsible” for the blast. Christofias rejected the results of the investigation and denied any personal responsibility for the tragedy.
On 9 October 2011, the police report, "prepared by head of CID at police HQ", recommended the prosecution of 12 people; the police rejected claims they were trying to protect the Presidential palace officials with their report, instead asserting that the "police perform their duties “impartially and objectively”". The police also report that they "carefully avoided saying who and how many we propose to take to court, because the final word on who will be brought to justice rests with the AG...in no way did we want to stigmatise someone who the AG may later judge there is insufficient evidence to prosecute”.
The country's banking crisis that came to a head in 2012 was blamed on Christofias, his lack of ability, and his refusal to take advice from his ministers. In polls conducted shortly before the expiration of his presidential term, he was voted as the worst president to have held office since the foundation of the Cypriot Republic. Cyprus, a euro area country, asked for financial bailout in June 2012, but talks faltered when President Christofias balked at measures such as privatization.
On 14 May 2012, Christofias announced he would not seek re-election for a second term in the next year, citing a deadlock in talks on the island's reunification. He left office on 28 February 2013, following the presidential elections he did not take part in.