The government could on Wednesday neither confirm nor deny a reshuffle would take place this month, with Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis saying it is up to the president to announce when it will happen.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Letymbiotis said: “The president will decide when the reshuffle will take place.”

Asked if it could possibly occur in January, as had been reported by Philenews, Letymbiotis avoided a definitive answer.

Speaking on Omega television, Letymbiotis did lay out two main criteria that any new individuals taking up positions would have to meet.

Candidates must hold some criteria relevant to the field the ministry operates in and be on board with Christodoulides’ governance programme.

According to a report in Philenews, after meeting with the political parties participating in his government, President Nikos Christodoulides said that he would proceed with the reshuffle in January and that he will have the final say in who stays and goes.

Discussions between the president and party leaders and close associates also indicate that the reshuffle will be wide-ranging and may reach up to half the members of the cabinet.

Previously, in a new year interview with Philenews, Christodoulides had said that “after almost ten months of governing the country, I have a personal opinion about each minister”.

He added that the reshuffle would occur before 18 months of his government was up.

Sources told Philenews that there could be five or eight seats changed in the cabinet, while there are certainly those who will not be departing.

According to the report, the seats that are safe are Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou and Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou.

Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis, Undersecretary to the president Irene Piki, and Deputy Shipping Minister Marina Hadjimanoli are also set to continue in the government, the report said.

Piki is pegged to move to a ministry, depending on the president being able to find a suitable replacement, according to the report.