Cyprus foreign minister quits amid presidential run tussle

Cyprus’ foreign minister announced his resignation on Sunday amid speculation about his intention to run for president of the eastern Mediterranean island nation next year which he said undermines the work of his ministry and that of the government.

Nicos Christodoulides told reporters that he submitted his resignation to President Nicos Anastasiades “several days ago” and that it was accepted only on Friday. Christodoulides’ last day in office will be on Monday, when he is scheduled to hold talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart.

Christodoulides, 48, said he “would be interested” to run in the March 2023 election, but it was too early to formally announce his candidacy and criticized what he described as premature and counterproductive campaigns especially amid all the challenges caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

He also denounced his (center-right) Democratic Rally party’s move to speed up the procedure for selecting a candidate when the party hierarchy announced in October that it would leave the decision until the end of spring.

The reference point indirectly accusing the party leader Averov Neophyto, who holds his presidential ambitions. Neofeto last week called on Christodoulides to make his intentions clear, effectively challenging him in a one-on-one race to lead Desi, which would in turn nominate the party’s presidential candidate.

Christodoulides, who has served as foreign minister since March 2018 and was the government spokesman for five years prior to that, consistently ranks as one of the country’s most popular politicians in several public opinion polls.

He said his candidacy aims to build a broad base of support from across the political spectrum including his own party, but insisted that being a party leader is not a prerequisite to running for the presidency.

These kinds of methods serve those who are invested in polarization and intolerance and do not fit with modern democracies and values. “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to follow that path,” Christodoulides said.

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