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  • Former president of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias dead at 72

    In 2008 he was elected president of the Republic of Cyprus, a position he held until 2013, when Nicos Anastasiades defeated AKEL candidate Stavros Malas.

    The former president of the Republic of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias, died today at age 72 after a long hospitalisation in the ICU of the General Hospital of Nicosia. Christofias had been in critical condition since May 20.

    In 2008 he was elected president of the Republic of Cyprus, a position he held until 2013, when Nicos Anastasiades defeated AKEL candidate Stavros Malas.

    His presidency was marked by the disastrous explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari, which was a major blow to the island’s infrastructure and economy.

    In open storage on the base were 98 containers with massive amounts of artillery shells, compressed gunpowder and magnesium primers that had been seized by US Navy in 2009 after it intercepted a Cypriot-flagged, Russian-owned vessel.

    The government was naturally blamed for the improper storage of the huge arsenal.

    The nearby €700 million-power station was completely destroyed, and the electricity supply to approximately half of Cyprus was interrupted.

    In a message on Twitter, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Dimitris Christofias «a genuine leader of the people of Cyprus, a great fighter of the Left, always at the forefront of social struggles, especially in the struggle for Cyprus’s reunification and the peaceful coexistence of all Cypriot people.»

    The former leader of the communist AKEL party, one of Cyprus’ two major parties, was born in the Keryneia region of Cyprus, currently Turkish-occupied, on August 29, 1946.

    He studied at the Moscow Institute of Social Sciences (1969-1971) and the Academy of Social Sciences of the USSR (1971-74) where he received a PhD in History.

    A protégé of AKEL’s historic leader Ezekias Papaioannou, Christofias became a member of AKEL in 1964 and in 1982 was elected member of its Central Committee, where he served in several capacities until he became Secretary General in 1988 (and another four times after that).

    He was elected as an MP for the Keryneia district (which retains representation in the Parliament of Cyprus even though it is Turkish-occupied) for the first time in 1991, and again in 1996, 2001 and 2006.

    Condolences have so far been expressed by Anastasiades, AKEL and other Cyprus parties, and the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which stated that «he led the struggle of the Cyprus people against the Turkish occupation and the withdrawal of occupation forces from Cyrpus, and devoted a great part of his life to the resolution of the Cyprus issue.»

    The former president of the Republic of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias, died today at age 72 after a long hospitalisation in the ICU of the General Hospital of Nicosia. Christofias had been in critical condition since May 20.

    In 2008 he was elected president of the Republic of Cyprus, a position he held until 2013, when Nicos Anastasiades defeated AKEL candidate Stavros Malas.

    His presidency was marked by the disastrous explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari, which was a major blow to the island’s infrastructure and economy.

    In open storage on the base were 98 containers with massive amounts of artillery shells, compressed gunpowder and magnesium primers that had been seized by US Navy in 2009 after it intercepted a Cypriot-flagged, Russian-owned vessel.

    The government was naturally blamed for the improper storage of the huge arsenal.

    The nearby €700 million-power station was completely destroyed, and the electricity supply to approximately half of Cyprus was interrupted.

    In a message on Twitter, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Dimitris Christofias «a genuine leader of the people of Cyprus, a great fighter of the Left, always at the forefront of social struggles, especially in the struggle for Cyprus’s reunification and the peaceful coexistence of all Cypriot people.»

    The former leader of the communist AKEL party, one of Cyprus’ two major parties, was born in the Keryneia region of Cyprus, currently Turkish-occupied, on August 29, 1946.

    He studied at the Moscow Institute of Social Sciences (1969-1971) and the Academy of Social Sciences of the USSR (1971-74) where he received a PhD in History.

    A protégé of AKEL’s historic leader Ezekias Papaioannou, Christofias became a member of AKEL in 1964 and in 1982 was elected member of its Central Committee, where he served in several capacities until he became Secretary General in 1988 (and another four times after that).

    He was elected as an MP for the Keryneia district (which retains representation in the Parliament of Cyprus even though it is Turkish-occupied) for the first time in 1991, and again in 1996, 2001 and 2006.

    Condolences have been expressed by Anastasiades, AKEL and other Cyprus parties, foreign leaders, and the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which stated that «he led the struggle of the Cyprus people against the Turkish occupation and the withdrawal of occupation forces from Cyrpus, and devoted a great part of his life to the resolution of the Cyprus issue.»

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