Nikos Christodoulides, 49, was sworn in on Tuesday as new president of Cyprus, promising that finding a solution to the long-lasting Cyprus issue will be his top priority.
The swearing-in ceremony before a special session of parliament marks the beginning of his five-year presidency, after Christodoulides won a runoff on Feb. 12 with 52 percent of the vote.
The ministers in his new cabinet will all be technocrats without party affiliation, as agreed with three small “middle ground” and right-wing parties that supported him during the election campaign.
The country’s new foreign minister will be Constantinos Kombos, a professor of public and constitutional law at the state University of Cyprus.
“A solution to the Cyprus problem is my top priority,” he said.
Negotiations, which started almost half a century ago between Greek and Turkish Cypriots for a solution, came to an impasse during a United Nations-led (UN) international conference in Switzerland in July 2017, when the sides failed to agree on the details of a UN-brokered solution for a federal state.
Last week, Christodoulides met for the first time with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who insisted on a new demand by Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriot side that negotiations not be resumed unless the Greek Cypriots agree to a two-state solution.
Political analysts say that they do not expect any dramatic changes in Cyprus’ pro-Western foreign policy line. At Tuesday’s ceremony in parliament, Christodoulides praised outgoing President Nicos Anastasiades, who completed two consecutive five-year terms, for taking up office at the peak of Cyprus’ worst ever economic crisis in 2013 and transferring to the new government a healthy economy. ■