New president to pick Cabinet, tackle Cyprus talks deadlock

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Newly elected President Nikos Christodoulides said his immediate priorities are to form a gender-balanced Cabinet, hold contacts with political leaders, and plan to end the Cyprus problem deadlock.

After the election results, Christodoulides said he would hold meetings to form his Cabinet from Monday.

Part of that decision-making will be meeting the leaders of the two largest political parties, DISY and AKEL, who lost the election.

For the first time in Cyprus, a president has been elected without the support of the two largest parties.

The new government – to take over on 1 March — could be announced this week.

Christodoulides pledged his government would be one of broad social acceptance.

“The need to form a government of broad social acceptance was not a pre-election slogan. It was something that we will implement in practice.”

He said the gender make-up of his Cabinet would be “50-50”; currently, there are only two female ministers in the government.

“The Cabinet will comprise 50% of women and young people who never served in any government in the past.”

The newly elected president said he was determined to break the deadlock on Cyprus talks.

“The current state of affairs, I have said many times, and I will not tire of saying it, cannot be the solution to the Cyprus problem.

“The current state of affairs is only worsening, which further distances the solution to the Cyprus issue.

“That is why, taking advantage of our status as a member of the European Union, we have a specific plan for how we will seek to break the impasse.”

Former foreign minister Christodoulides, 49, won 51.92% to defeat fellow diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis, 66, who took 48.08% in Sunday’s runoff.

Mavroyiannis conceded defeat and congratulated his rival. He told reporters: “Tonight a journey has ended… I regret we couldn’t achieve the change that Cyprus needed.”