Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides resigned Sunday amid speculation he will run for the 2023 presidential elections.
“My resignation is the result of a series of events and views, public or otherwise, that have taken place recently and inevitably and unfortunately affect the serious work of the government,” Christodoulides said in a statement.
He has been caught in the internal party politics of his ruling conservative party, DISY, whose leader, Averof Neofytou, has decided to stand for president next.
Christodoulides seeks wider backing and doesn’t want to go through DISY’s party process.
“Activation of the internal party processes for the 2023 Presidential Elections, well over one year ahead, negatively affects the challenges that we as a state and society are called upon to manage.”
The 48-year-old career diplomat announced his resignation after taking the post in March 2018 under the second administration of Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades.
Former DISY leader Anastasiades has declared he will not run for a third term.
His resignation – accepted by Anastasiades – is effective from 11 Jan after meeting his Kuwait counterpart Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah on Monday.
Christodoulides resignation had been expected as speculation about his candidature for next year’s presidential race has intensified, although he has made no official announcement.
“I honestly declare I would be interested in the 2023 Presidential Elections, especially if my candidacy could lead to wider collaborations.
“For the reasons mentioned…it is not yet time for any decisions.
“That is why I have not shown any personal interest in the presidential elections so far.”
Seasoned politician Ioannis Kasoulides, 73, Christodoulides’ predecessor as foreign minister, is tipped to replace him.
Kasoulides, a former MEP, served as foreign minister for 11 years (1997-2003, 2013-2018).