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Cabinet reshuffle on the cards, Diko names Papadopoulos as House president candidate (updated)

Diko party leader Nicolas Papadopoulos

The race for the House presidency has blended with talk of an impending cabinet reshuffle, with reports that President Nicos Anastasiades is considering outgoing House President Adamos Adamou for the post of health minister – although that may prove a hard sell.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Anastasiades reiterated that he will be summoning political party leaders next week to “explore the possibility for a government of broader acceptance, the aim being not to divvy up power and sinecures, but to see how we can reach convergences so that with the Recovery and Resilience Plan we can attain the goals concerning the youth, the Cyprus of tomorrow, the new generation.”

He demurred when asked for details about new people coming into government, saying only “when and if I decide, I shall make announcements.”

According to Politis, Anastasiades had been mulling a reshuffle for some time, but waited until after the parliamentary elections in order to ‘get the lay of the land’.

His underlying motive is said to be to cajole the parties into at least not opposing the coming policies and reforms to be rolled out by the administration until 2023.

But the likelihood of opposition parties joining the government bandwagon seems extremely remote.

Until very recently Akel, Diko, and the Greens have openly called for Anastasiades’ resignation, and still maintain that their policy differences with the government are vast.

The rumour mill has already started churning, with Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou apparently the first to go in a coming reshuffle.

Ioannou has already indicated he wishes to leave the ministry and politics in general.

Reports said he had twice asked the president to let him go.

Politis intimated that Ioannou’s successor could be House President Adamos Adamou, hailing from main opposition party Akel.

Appointing Adamou would play into Anastasiades’ theme of a government of wider acceptance. But given Akel’s stinging critique of Anastasiades and his administration, it’s improbable that they’d let Adamou join this particular government.

Adamou steps down as House President on Thursday.

Others possibly on the way out – or transferred elsewhere – are government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou and Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis.

For the moment, the positions for finance minister (Constantinos Petrides), interior minister (Nicos Nouris), foreign minister (Nicos Christodoulides) and labour minister (Zeta Emilianidou) appear secure.

Meantime the picture surrounding the election of a new House president moved forward on Tuesday evening when Diko’s executive bureau announced it unanimously approved their party head Nicolas Papadopoulos as their candidate for House president.

Akel’s central committee discussed their candidate on Tuesday and while party leader Andros Kyprianou’s candidacy is on the table party spokesman Stefanos Stefanou told CNA that consultations with other parties will continue on Wednesday. A final decision will probably be made on Thursday morning.

Edek and new party Dipa have adopted a wait and see approach, while Disy has said it will stick with its candidate MP Annita Demetriou to the end. Elam and the Greens are both putting their presidents Christos Christou and Charalambos Theopemptou forward, but both are widely expected to withdraw their candidacies in the second round, barring unexpected support from elsewhere.

Under the rules, a candidate must secure 29 votes to be elected in the first round. With seven parties in the House and the biggest, Disy, commanding only 17 seats, all parties will need to forge alliances with other parties. Failing this, the vote will move to a second round where the winning candidate will need the support of at least 22 MPs and then to a third, where the candidate with the most votes wins.

Edek is understood to be waiting for a clearer picture, with its politbureau due to meet on Wednesday afternoon after officials hold consultations with Diko and Akel. Its president Marinos Sizopoulos said the party will decide once the candidacies have clarified and on the basis of criteria decided by the party’s politbureau at its last meeting, including experience, honesty and the ability to manage the House so as to upgrade it as an institution.

Edek has not ruled out putting Sizopoulos’ name forward. And it has clarified that the only candidacy it has ruled out is that of Elam. A final decision may be taken as late as Thursday.

Dipa is also holding consultations with other parties and may also leave its decision to the last minute. The party, which splintered off from Diko, could put forward the name of its president Marios Garoyan, who has served as House president in the past. But it has also said that the election of a House president is not an end in itself, nor part of a race among parties in view of the 2023 presidential elections.

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