Cyprus bids farewell to ‘peoples minister’

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Cyprus bade farewell to one of its most beloved politicians on Friday, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, who passed away aged 67 after suffering a cerebral aneurysm rupture in May.

Her body was laid in state for two hours before the start of the funeral, during which members of the public queued to pay their last respects.

The funeral was at Nicosia’s Ayia Sophia church in Strovolos, with all government officials present.

An emotional President Nicos Anastasiades delivered the eulogy, calling the late Labour minister “the best minister” and “minister of the poor”.

Anastasiades said that many welfare services would not have been possible without Emilianidou’s contribution, citing the establishment of the Minimum Guaranteed Income and the Minimum Guaranteed Pension for those living below the poverty line.

He noted that society’s outpouring of emotion and tributes is proof of her distinguished career and the way she carried out her duties.

He stressed that Emilianidou had been distinguished for her moral qualities, honesty, enthusiastic work, and high sense of responsibility, which, combined with her intelligence and strong personality, allowed her to be creative and effective.

“Peace in labour relations was achieved with Emilianidou’s contribution due to her ability to discuss calmly and understand the problems and the disputes between employers and employees.

“It is for her and her life’s work of which I am proud.”

President Anastasiades vowed to carry on her legacy, pushing forward reforms Emilianidou’s ministry prepared.

Emilianidou, 67, passed away Monday at a private hospital in Athens. She was treated in an induced coma following surgery for a rupture of a cerebral aneurism she suffered on 15 May.

She had undergone a lengthy surgery after being flown to Athens.

Emilianidou was initially rushed to a private hospital in Nicosia after having severe headaches; she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid haemorrhage in the brain due to a ruptured aneurysm.

She was a popular minister for nearly ten years and only one of three women in the government.

Serving in the second successive Anastasiades administration, she was praised for her mediation efforts to maintain peace in the labour sector, often resolving major industrial disputes.