NICOSIA – The abrupt resignation of Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, one of the country’s most popular politicians in polls, has set up jockeying for position for the 2023 Presidential race, media reports said.
Christodoulides quit over an apparent internal power struggle within the ruling right-wing Democratic Rally (DISY) party over their choice of candidate to replace Nicos Anastasiades, whose 10-year two-term run will end.
Christodoulides has not ruled out running and his move came after party leader Averof Neophytou, threw his hat in the rang, rankling Christodoulides who said it was premature.
“These kinds of approaches serve those who invest in polarization and fanaticism and aren’t commensurate with modern democracies and values. I’m sorry, but I won’t follow that course,” Christodoulides said, said Reuters.
Christodoulides, 48, said “he would be interested” in running in the March 2023 election, but that it was much too early for him to formally declare his candidacy, especially during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he was upset that the DISY party accelerated plans to select a candidate that saw its leader, Neophytou, immediately jump in, effectively cutting out any serious opposition, although the decision wasn’t supposed to come until the end of the spring.
Neophytou had essentially challenged Christodoulides to make clear his intentions although the former foreign chief said while he’s thinking of running for President he has no interest in being DISY’s leader, said Euronews.
Christodoulides, who served as foreign minister since March 2018 and was government spokesman for five years prior to that, said that if he does run that his candidacy would seek to go beyond the party base.
Ioannis Kasoulides, who has served twice in the position, was named to replace him.