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Longtime Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades dies (updated)

demetriades5
Lellos Demetrides

Former Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades passed away at the age of 89 at the Nicosia General Hospital on Saturday afternoon.

According to his son, Achilleas, Demetriades had been facing health issues for some time.

Lellos Demetriades was born in Nicosia in 1933. He studied economics and law and worked as a lawyer.

He was a Nicosia MP with the Patriotic Front between 1960 and 1969 and with the left-wing United Party between 1969 and 1970.

In 1971 he was appointed Mayor of Nicosia, a position he held until December 2001, with the exception of a few weeks between July and August 1974.

He was elected Mayor of Nicosia in 1986, 1991 and 1996.

During his term, he worked to upgrade the sewerage system and founded the union of municipalities, while he collaborated closely with the then mayor of north Nicosia Mustafa Akinci, who later became the Turkish Cypriot leader.

Demetriades resorted to an ad hoc set of arrangements with Akinci in the early 1980s and together upgraded the city’s sewerage system, making the first step to Nicosia’s reunification.

In 2017, a book was published about Demetriades 30-year term as a mayor of the capital.

Speaking at the launch, Akinci said Demetriades “shared the vision of a reunited Nicosia and a reunited Cyprus.

Former Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades had a close relationship with Akinci
Former Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades had a close relationship with former Turkish Cypriot leader and mayor of north Nicosia Mustafa Akinci

“If today the sewerage system is able to effectively address the vital needs of both sides of Nicosia and if the joint treatment plant is functioning, all this was possible through the vision of Lellos’ cooperation.”

Demetriades also spoke highly of Akinci. “The moment I met him I knew I could work with the man,” he told the Sunday Mail in 2015.

Once the two started trusting each other, “no matter what the problem was we knew we could find a solution to it because we were both working not for ourselves but for the good of the city.”

The two former mayors had remained very close friends.

From 1981 to 2001 Demetriades was president of the union of Cyprus municipalities, which was created in January 1981 following his initiative. At the time, he was also the chairman of the board of directors of the central slaughterhouse of Cyprus.

He also took part in the anticolonial struggle of EOKA from 1955-59.

“Lellos Demetriades served Nicosia with passion and love for three decades,” Nicosia municipality said in a statement. “He worked hard and methodically to modernise the capital. With his dynamic personality and intelligence he managed to provide solutions to problems that were considered insurmountable.”

“It was with sadness that we were informed about the loss of a great man whose course in life was inextricably linked both to the modern history of our country as a member of parliament and more specifically to the local government as mayor of Nicosia from 1971 to 2001, introducing the city into a new era that bore his signature,” ruling Disy said in an announcement.

“Lellos Demetriades was a great and bright personality, who deservedly received during his turbulent life the universal respect of Cypriot society,” it added.

Demetriades is survived by his two sons, Achilleas and Constantinos. Achilleas Demetriades has announced he is running for president in the 2023 presidential elections.

His wife, Olga, died in December 2016 at the age of 77. She was a higher technical institute professor and actively involved in various charities as well as being the president of Cans for Kids.

Details of his funeral will be announced at a later date.

 

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