By Andria Kades and Jonathan Shkurko
A day after Nikos Christodoulides emerged as Cyprus’ elected president, the horse trading over cabinet members appeared to be in full swing.
Christodoulides insists his government will be one of ‘broad social acceptance’, but what exactly does that mean?
The president-elect has highlighted his cabinet will be formed by new faces, people who have not served as ministers before.
Christodoulides met with outgoing president Nicos Anastasiades in the evening, where they discussed matters of internal governance and the Cyprus problem.
The president-elect was asked to comment on possible cabinet choices, but did not say any names, just that there were people already in mind.
According to CyBC, Christodoulides also said that he will decide by the day of his inauguration if he will be moving into the presidential palace with his family.
He specified he does have candidates in mind for the 16 appointments some of whom have a political background and others who do not. Nonetheless, their political ideologies are not what shape his decision, he stressed.
“The appointment of the members of the cabinet is at an advanced stage. It is something that will be entirely my responsibility and by extension those choices, whether they are positive in the process or negative, the responsibility again will be mine.”
Christodoulides said he is eyeing technocrats that are experts in their field and are in touch with the political life of the country. Already, he has informed some potential candidates and not received a negative response – though he refrained from specifying who just yet.
“Once both sides have agreed on everything, there will be an announcement, why not?”
The president-elect had pledged his cabinet would be comprised 50/50 of men and women – a promise he reiterated on the night of his election. He described the government formation a decision of “peak political importance”.
Another key criterion is that they have faith in his election campaign plan, he added.
Earlier in the day, Konstantinos Letymbiotis who has been part of Christodoulides’ campaign team told the state broadcaster the meetings with party leaders would be part of his efforts to find mutual satisfaction in the formation of government members.
Asked if Akel and Disy refuse to take up ministerial posts if this would mean this is not a ‘broad social acceptance’, Letymbiotis responded negatively.
“He will take their views into account though he is the final decision maker. Posts will not be handed out in the past like three positions to this party and four positions to that party.”
‘Broad social acceptance’ thus appears to mean efforts in including individuals from across – and outside – the political party sphere in the decision-making processes of his government. Should they choose to opt out, Christodoulides will still keep his end of the bargaining by engaging in the dialogue.
Christodoulides secured 51.97 per cent of the vote on Sunday after a long campaign race.
He said that this week he will hold conversations and meetings with the leaders of all political parties in Cyprus and plans to announce the name of the ministers forming his cabinet this week.
“Meeting with representatives of the different parties across the political spectrum in Cyprus, regardless of whether they supported my candidacy or not, is very important,” Christodoulides said.
“I will not only meet with the leaders of the parties who supported me, but also with Disy’s Averof Neophytou and with Akel’s Stefanos Stefanou. Hearing their ideas and concerns is a very important step in the process for me.”
A Disy internal party meeting is set to take place on Monday at 6pm to discuss party positions after Neophytou last week announced elections for the posts will be held on. March 11. At the time, Neophytou said he will run for president of the party.