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President’s undersecretary appointed interior minister (Updated)

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides

Undersecretary to the President Constantinos Petrides will be the new interior minister, replacing Socratis Hasikos following his resignation for personal reasons last week, it was announced on Monday.

Petrides, who was also the reform commissioner, was the leading contender to fill Hasikos’ shoes ever since his post was vacated.

Vasilis Palmas, the former government spokesman under Tassos Papadopoulos, was chosen by President Nicos Anastasiades to fill Petrides’ old job, while Michalis Sofocleous, a member of ruling Disy and director of the Glafcos Clerides Ιnstitute, has been appointed director of the president’s office.

 

In his dual role as undersecretary to the president and reform commissioner, Petrides brought the traditionally uncelebrated post into the limelight through various ambitious initiatives, including an ill-fated civil service reform package aiming to drastically overhaul the public sector that was rejected by parliament.

Palmas, a Diko staple, served as government spokesman from mid-2007 until the end of the Papadopoulos presidency in March 2008.

He is considered a member of Diko’s intra-party opposition wing, belonging to the camp of previous leader Marios Garoyian, who was subsequently ousted by current leader Nicolas Papadopoulos.

Palmas was appointed to the Tenders Review Board by Anastasiades in 2014 for a five-year term.

Sophocleous is a member of Disy’s political bureau and widely considered one of leader Averof Neophytou’s closest associates.

He mounted two unsuccessful bids for parliament with the party in 2016 and 2011.

 

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