Mini reshuffle sees fewer women and no change in policy

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President Nicos Anastasiades announced a mini reshuffle of four changes to his administration leaving the cabinet with one woman and essentially no change in policy outlook.

The mini reorganisation of the cabinet, combined with former DISY MP Stella Kyriakides’ appointment as an EU commissioner and the resignation of ruling party MP Solon Kassinis, sees three newcomers enter parliament.

One of the President’s most intrusted associates, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides takes on the key role of Finance Minister. A post widely considered to be the second-highest in the cabinet, held from the beginning of this administration by Harris Georgiades, who is expected to take up executive duties at DISY.

Petrides’ position at the Interior Ministry will be filled by DISY MP Nicos Nouris, who is thought to be familiar with matters of local administration as he has served as Nicosia’s deputy mayor and sat on the House Interior Committee. Nouris is one of DISY’s three vice-presidents.

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou will be taking on the role of education minister while Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos will become minister of transport, communications and works, replacing Vassiliki Anastasiadou.

Education Minister Costas Chambiaouris will be appointed as the Mountain Communities Development Commissioner. Former deputy government spokesperson Klelia Vasiliou will become Environmental Commissioner.

Karousos on Monday addressed accusations that his appointment was made to placate opposition to a possible merger between the municipalities of Ayia Napa and Paralimni which is included in the Interior Ministry’s plans for reorganising local administration.

“My appointment as transport minister is not linked to the issue of which municipality Ayia Napa will merge with,” said Karousos, stressing that he was only informed of his appointment on Sunday Morning.

Lawyer Kyriacos Koushos will become government spokesman and the position of deputy government spokesperson will be taken on by the current president of the Youth Board and President of the DISY’s youth organisation Panayiotis Sentonas.

The new cabinet will have just one female member, the Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou.

She survived pressure to resign after a damning report claimed social workers were “criminally negligent” in the case of a teenage boy who took his life when suffering years of domestic abuse.

Prior to the outcry, rumours had Emilianidou ready to exit the government.

The new ministers will be sworn in on Tuesday and their new duties on Wednesday.

Further changes to the cabinet are expected to be made next year when, as rumoured, Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis is expected to step down.

Partly as a result of the mini reshuffle, the House is to welcome three new DISY MPs.

Following Nouris’ appointment as Interior Minister, Stella Kyriakides’ appointment as the EU Health Commissioner and the resignation of MP Solon Kassinis. The three DISY runners-up in the last Parliamentary election will take their place: Savvia Orfanidou, Xenia Constantinou and Michalis Sophocleous. New Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou was DISY’s first runner-up.

Meanwhile, opposition parties were not impressed by the change of guard at some ministries.

Main Opposition party AKEL’s spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said: “It is well known that policies of the Anastasiades-DISY government have led to a great divide within society. In its seventh year in power, the government has not once shown it plans to change its policies that have turned the clock back in Cyprus a good number of years”.

Green Party leader George Perdikis said there “seems to have been an effort to have more party members in the cabinet.”