Deputy Research, Innovation, and Digital Policy Minister Philippos Hadjizacharias resigned on Friday, amid rumours that he would be one of the cabinet ministers to face dismissal from President Nikos Christodoulides.

Christodoulides made no comment on Friday about the state of his reshuffle plans, and said Hadjizacharias had resigned “for personal reasons”.

He added that he thanked Hadjizacharias for “the services he offered to the government” and wishes him every success for the future.

Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades will take on the brief until a new person is appointed to fill the role permanently.

Following a New Year interview this week, where Christodoulides had told Philenews that a reshuffle was imminent before 18-months of his term were over.

Hadjizacharias was pegged as one of four cabinet members that will be fired, with the others being Health Minister Popi Kanari, Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos, and Deputy Tourism Minister Costas Koumis.

According to an earlier report in Philenews, sources pegged Hadjizacharias, Kanari, Xenophontos, and Koumis as the “weakest links” in the government.

Earlier, reports circulated that four members of the cabinet would be fired, while another four are in limbo, as Christodoulides is searching for their replacements. These four ministers were Finance Minister Makis Keravnos, Justice Minister Anna Procopiou, Defence Minister Michalis Giorgallas, and Energy Minister George Papanastasiou.

In the case of Keravnos, sources told Philenews that it was difficult to find someone willing to take over the position, and that Christodoulides was under pressure from banks and businesses to keep Keravnos in his position.

Both from the banks’ and businessmen’s point of view, Keravnos inspires confidence, due to the positive ratings of the Cypriot economy by the international financial institutions.

In the case of Procopiou, it is recalled that her name was in the reshuffle scenarios after the incidents of racist rioting in Chlorakas and Limassol.

Christodoulides was reported to have even approached people to take on the position, but no one had accepted.

The post of “Deputy minister for European Affairs” is reportedly set to be given to Marilena Raouna, who is already heading up Christodoulides’ diplomatic office.

Undersecretary to the president Irene Piki is also set to stay on in the government, but her exact role going forward is yet to have been made clear.

On Thursday, Christodoulides tried to play down media speculation regarding the forthcoming reshuffle in an attempt to calm concerned ministers, while also attempting to relieve pressure on himself created by swirling rumours of an imminent reshuffle.

With this in mind, the situation seemed to point to Christodoulides postponing any reshuffle announcements until March, under the pretext of the completion of his government’s first year in office.

This would have allowed him to buy time to find replacements for ministers whom he intends to relieve of their duties. However, Hadjizacharias’ resignation may have created more urgency in this regard.

He had assured his ministers on Thursday that he would personally inform them about the reshuffle, dispelling media reports suggesting the changes would be completed before the 18-month mark, the point at which they would be eligible for ministerial pensions.

Christodoulides made these comments ahead of a cabinet meeting, emphasising that he considers all ministers as “colleagues” and that he would be the sole source of information about any changes.

He added that ministers would not be informed by the media or anyone else about their position or his intentions to that end.

Regarding the work done by his cabinet, Christodoulides said that in the first ten months in power, they have accomplished significant work, which he called on the ministers to highlight.