Outgoing Cyprus chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis confirmed on Tuesday his interest in running for the 2023 presidential elections, but remained cagey on details.

Mavroyiannis tendered his resignation earlier this month; he will officially step down as chief negotiator on May 15. The government has already announced his replacement.

Since news broke of his departure, speculation has swirled about the prospects of him standing in the elections. The buzz has linked him to main opposition Akel, who are still searching for a personality to sponsor.

Speaking to the Politis radio channel, Mavroyiannis sought to dispel rumours that the timing of his resignation had something to do with the upcoming electoral process.

He denied media reports that he had quit just before his contract was set to expire. Noting that his contract with the government actually had no expiry date clause, he said he had simply tendered his resignation on April 15, giving the government a one-month notice as per the norm.

Pressed on what had taken him so long to leave, given that he had previously voiced frustration with the lack of movement in the Cyprus peace process, Mavroyiannis said he had waited for a new initiative, but realising one was not on the cards, and with the upcoming elections effectively precluding any chance for a new settlement drive, he decided now was the time to leave.

Asked whether he’d accept a possible nomination from Akel, or if he would prefer to have the support of other parties as well, he said: “Ideally yes [support from other parties as well]. But let me say something: in order for a candidacy to be credible, in other words stand a chance of success, it requires significant party backing.

“The other thing is that there have to be prospects… to make things better for the country. So it’s not a question of running for the sake of power, and I personally am not interested in that. If there is real vision to do something about our country and improve considerably, or at the very least improve a little, then if I were the vehicle for such an effort, I might consider it.”

On whether he has been speaking with political parties during this time, Mavroyiannis replied: “I don’t have some institutional position to speak with the parties. I am familiar with the head of Akel, I’ve had friendly relations with the chairman of Edek for some 50 years, by which I mean to say I am acquainted with people. But I am not discussing with them in their institutional capacity.”

Asked if he speaks with politicians in a private capacity, he said “Yes, but not in the sense of gaming out the elections… we speak generically.”

Mavroyiannis has served as chief negotiator since September 2013. He was present at the 2017 Cyprus settlement talks in Crans Montana, Switzerland which some say came closer than ever to an agreement but ultimately ended in an impasse.

According to reports, on the same day of his resignation Akel’s political bureau brought up Mavroyiannis’ name while discussing the party’s electoral strategy. Reportedly his name came up along with two others: economist Stelios Platis and lawyer Achilleas Demetriades. Only the latter has openly declared his intention to run, and is understood to be looking for a sponsor.

Akel had considered Mavroyiannis as a possible candidate to back in previous elections, but the idea had been dropped due to concerns he is a hardliner on the Cyprus issue.

On Monday, Akel said it would take its final decision for the presidential elections during a party congress to be held in June.