Cyprus Mail

‘As a human being he was fantastic’

The Sunday Mail took to the streets on Saturday and having heard how politicians eulogised the late former president, we thought we would find out what ordinary people had to say of the man.

By Peter Stevenson

Spyros Hadjipsaltis“HE was the best president Cyprus ever had because he managed to get us into the European Union. He was a simple man and it was a joy to hear him speak. He was the image of a leader. As a member of the public you felt that you had a president and a guardian of the country. He gave many things to the people over the last sixty years, both as a lawyer and a politician. He made Cyprus stronger by signing a defence agreement with Greece. He got close to finding a solution to the Cyprus problem but unfortunately he came up short.”

Spyros Hadjipsaltis, 34, municipality worker  – DISY 


“As a human being he was fantastic but during his governance some of the country’s biggest scandals unfolded. In 1993 the Cyprus problem could have been resolved with the help then of (UN Secretary-General) Boutros Boutros Ghali which was the best solution we have been given but he turned it upside down just so he could become president. In 1998 he was elected following the biggest lies ever told by a politician in Cyprus, that he was going to bring the S-300 missiles and that the USA would help solve the Cyprus problem. In 2003 he wanted to get re-elected so he could force the Annan Plan onto us so you can imagine I don’t really appreciate him as a politician. As for the scandals, he isn’t the only politician who has done similar things, he was just taking advantage of his position and the people’s naivity.”

Yiannis Antoniou 45, businessman, DIKO


“He’s was one of, if not one of the best presidents or politicians of the country with his integrity and most of all his humanity. He handed over a very well organised and functioning system.”

Charoulla Neocleous, 34, businesswoman,


“A politician’s path cannot be judged one dimensionally, nor can it be judged emotionally. There are always positives and negatives and it’s up to the people to judge. He had morals, good character, he spoke eloquently and with a certain culture that stood out from the rest. He pioneered with former president Vassiliou to get Cyprus into the EU and during his second term he did his best to solve the Cyprus problem. The negative aspects were that he sheltered those who were responsible for the coup in 1974 who should have been tried and jailed for life. He cultivated the phenomenon of crimes going unpunished in Cyprus, like the stock market collapse and the S-300 missiles.”

Christakis Demetriou, 51, PR consultant


Tony Sorokos and wife Aspasia
Tony Sorokos and wife Aspasia

“He brought the S-300 missiles without letting anyone know, oh wait, no he just used that to win the presidential elections and then left them to rot in Crete. Well he did manage to allegedly cook the books and get us in the EU. I never said all the others before and after him were any better, most of them were and are worse.”

Tony Sorokos, 33, video editor


“He had wonderful qualities like integrity, dignity, humour, respect and passion, especially for his country. A true patriot, a fighter, a kind, gentle soul, a man that cared to make a difference. He was brave, had an incredible sense of humour, a selfless leader and a rare man. No other politician earned so much respect from his people, no matter what party they support. He actively fought for Cyprus, he worked very hard to reunite the island. He made this country a European nation. He made friendly international alliances and made the rest of the world take us seriously. He made Cyprus proud to call him a president.”

Argyro Christodoulou, 32, housewife, DISY


“He was a top man and when you are a top man you can do anything and work anywhere. Words are redundant, the more you talk about him the more you cheapen who he was and what he did. I had the honour of meeting him and working with him, so may God rest his soul. Politicians nowadays only want power, they don’t care about people. I don’t belong to the party he represented but I still had huge respect for him.”

Costas Erodotou, 62, former Grain Commissioner


“He was an honest man who did what he could to solve the Cyprus problem. It wasn’t his fault that he didn’t succeed. If not the best, he was one of the best presidents the island ever had.”

Christos, 65, pensioner


Andreas Christophi
Andreas Christophi

“He was a good person and a good politician. He did many positive things for Cyprus, he tried to solve the Cyprus problem and in my eyes he was the best president this island has ever had.”

Andreas Christophi, 58, refugee from Kyrenia



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