Dimitris Christofias
Overview
 
Dimitris Christofias also Demetris (born 29 August 1946) is a left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 Greek
Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 Cypriot
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 politician and the current and sixth President of the Republic of Cyprus. Christofias was the General Secretary of AKEL
Progressive Party of Working People
The Progressive Party of Working People is a communist party in Cyprus. It supports an independent, demilitarized and non-aligned Cyprus, and a federal solution of the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem. It places particular emphasis on rapprochement with the Turkish Cypriots. It supported...

 and is Cyprus's first, and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

's first and so far only, communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 head of state. He won the 2008 Cypriot presidential elections
Cypriot presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in Cyprus on 17 February 2008, with the second round held on 24 February 2008. The second-round winner, and thus the President of Cyprus for the next term, is Dimitris Christofias....

 in the second round of voting. Throughout the election campaign, he pledged to restart talks with Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots are the ethnic Turks and members of the Turkish-speaking ethnolinguistic community of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The term is used to refer explicitly to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots, whose Ottoman Turkish forbears colonised the island in 1571...

 in order to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute
Cyprus dispute
The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

 and reunify the island.
Encyclopedia
Dimitris Christofias also Demetris (born 29 August 1946) is a left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 Greek
Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 Cypriot
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 politician and the current and sixth President of the Republic of Cyprus. Christofias was the General Secretary of AKEL
Progressive Party of Working People
The Progressive Party of Working People is a communist party in Cyprus. It supports an independent, demilitarized and non-aligned Cyprus, and a federal solution of the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem. It places particular emphasis on rapprochement with the Turkish Cypriots. It supported...

 and is Cyprus's first, and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

's first and so far only, communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 head of state. He won the 2008 Cypriot presidential elections
Cypriot presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in Cyprus on 17 February 2008, with the second round held on 24 February 2008. The second-round winner, and thus the President of Cyprus for the next term, is Dimitris Christofias....

 in the second round of voting. Throughout the election campaign, he pledged to restart talks with Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots are the ethnic Turks and members of the Turkish-speaking ethnolinguistic community of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The term is used to refer explicitly to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots, whose Ottoman Turkish forbears colonised the island in 1571...

 in order to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute
Cyprus dispute
The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

 and reunify the island. He has also supported the closure of the British military bases on Cyprus
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are two British-administered areas comprising a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus administered as Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom...

.

Early life

He was born on 29 August 1946 in the village of Dhikomo, Kyrenia
Kyrenia District
Kyrenia District is one of the six districts of Cyprus. Its main town is Kyrenia . It is the smallest of Cyprus' districts, and is the only one fully controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey....

. Christofias became involved in leftist politics early in his youth and held several positions with the youth movement of AKEL (the Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus). His father, who died in 1987, was a progressive builder, member of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO).

He had his secondary-school education at Nicosia Commercial Lyceum, from where 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 studied at the Institute of Social Sciences and the Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. In Moscow he met his wife, Elsie Chiratou, and later returned to Cyprus and political life.

Public figure

In 1974 he was elected to the post of the Central Organising Secretary of EDON and in 1977 of General Secretary. At this post he served till 1987.

In 1976 he was elected member of the Nicosia
Nicosia District
For the district of Northern Cyprus, see Lefkoşa District.Nicosia District is one of the six districts of Cyprus. Its main town is the island country's capital city, Nicosia...

-Kyrenia District
Kyrenia District
Kyrenia District is one of the six districts of Cyprus. Its main town is Kyrenia . It is the smallest of Cyprus' districts, and is the only one fully controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey....

 Committee of AKEL, and in 1982 – at the 15th Congress of AKEL – he was elected member of the Central Committee of the Party.

In July 1986 he was elected alternate member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL. After the 16th Congress of AKEL, held in November 1986, he was elected full member of the P.B. of C.C. AKEL and in 1987 (after terminating his service as General Secretary of EDON) he was elected member of the Secretariat of C.C. AKEL. In April 1988, following the death of Ezekias Papaioannou
Ezekias Papaioannou
Ezekias Papaioannou was a Greek Cypriot communist politician and Secretary General of the left wing political party of AKEL....

, he was elected General Secretary of the C.C. AKEL, a post he held until 2009.

Rise to local leadership

Christofias was elected Member of the House of Representatives for the first time in 1991 and was re-elected in the subsequent parliamentary elections
Elections in Cyprus
Elections in Cyprus gives information on election and election results in Cyprus.Cyprus elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The election of the President is direct, by universal suffrage and secret ballot. Voting is compulsory and every citizen over the...

 of 1996 and 2001. On 7 June 2001, he was elected President of the House of Representatives
House of Representatives of Cyprus
The House of Representatives is the parliament of Cyprus. It has 59 members elected for a five year term, 56 members by proportional representation and 3 observer members representing the Maronite, Latin and Armenian minorities...

. He was re-elected as president of the House of Representatives in 2006. In his function of General Secretary of the C.C. 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.

He 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 (I.P.U.) and of the Cyprus Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, previously known as the Empire Parliamentary Association, is an organisation, of British origin, which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights...

 (C.P.A.).
Dimitris Christofias is married to Elsie (Chiratou) Christofias (1972) and they have three children – two daughters, Marianna and Christina, and a son, Christos. He is a recipient of a living-related kidney transplant, donated by his sister.

2008 presidential election

The first round of the February 2008 presidential election
Cypriot presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in Cyprus on 17 February 2008, with the second round held on 24 February 2008. The second-round winner, and thus the President of Cyprus for the next term, is Dimitris Christofias....

, held on 17 February, saw a close result between the three leading candidates—Christofias, Ioannis Kasoulides
Ioannis Kasoulides
Ioannis Kasoulides is a Cypriot politician and member of European Parliament.He is member of European People's Party and Democratic Rally He was elected as member of Cyprus Parliament on 1991 and also served as minister of the government of Cyprus for the period 1993-2003.Ioannis Kasoulides is...

 of DISY, and the incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos
Tassos Papadopoulos
Tassos Nikolaou Papadopoulos was a Cypriot politician. He served as the fifth President of the Republic of Cyprus from February 28, 2003 to February 28, 2008.His parents were Nicolas and Aggeliki from Assia. He was the first of three children...

—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 says he will leave the free market economy alone. While much of the focus beyond Cyprus has been on Mr Christofias's communist background and education in Moscow, on the island voters have been more concerned with a solution to Europe's longest running conflict—the island's partition since 1974.

Government

On February 29, 2008, Christofias proceeded to appoint his Government. Christofias' first government was a coalition between his own party AKEL, Marios Garoyian
Marios Garoyian
Marios Garoyian is a Cypriot-Armenian politician. He has been President of the Democratic Party since 2006....

's Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Cyprus)
The Democratic Party is a centrist political party in Cyprus, founded in 1976 by Spyros Kyprianou. As it is reported in its founding statement , the Democratic Party proposes to the Cypriot society the political philosophy of "social centrism", which constitutes “a total of attributes and values...

 and Yiannakis Omirou
Yiannakis Omirou
Yiannakis Omirou is a Cypriot politician. He has been President of the EDEK since 2001.Omirou was born in Paphos. He studied law at the National Kapodestrian University of Athens. He is single....

's Movement for Social Democracy
Movement for Social Democracy
The Movement for Social Democracy EDEK is a Social Democratic party in Cyprus. It was originally founded by Dr Vasos Lyssaridis in 1969 as the United Democratic Union of Centre, EDEK and it was socialist party. It has gradually evolved into a social-democratic political party...

. Cyprus's cabinet tendered its resignation on July 28, 2011, bowing to political and public pressure after a massive munitions blast
Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion
The Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus. The incident occurred on 11 July 2011, when 98 containers of explosives that were being stored for 2½ years in the sun on the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base near Zygi self-detonated.The...

 that has threatened to force the island into asking for an EU bailout. 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
Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion
The Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus. The incident occurred on 11 July 2011, when 98 containers of explosives that were being stored for 2½ years in the sun on the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base near Zygi self-detonated.The...

 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", "recommend 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”.

External links


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