Christofias: a new presidency for all

Solution to Cyprus problem and a fairer society are part of new president’s vision

“MY PRESIDENCY will be a presidency for all Cypriots”: these were Demetris Christofias’ concluding words in his first speech as President of the Republic of Cyprus.

In his half-hour long address to the House of Representatives at the ceremony for his investiture, the new President skimmed over the major issues his government would concern itself with.

“I ran for the Presidency of the Republic inspired by a life-long vision: the achievement of a just solution to the Cyprus problem and the building of a fairer society”, he said.

His “top priority” is the solution to the Cyprus problem, which persists, “due to Turkey’s refusal to accept a solution that would be to the benefit of the people of Cyprus.”

Christofias identified the July 8 agreement as, “the starting point to break the deadlock”.

He went on to assure Turkish Cypriots of his best intentions, while in the same breath emphasising that, “the restoration of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots cannot take place at the expense of the rights of the Greek Cypriot and of our Maronite, Armenian and Latin compatriots.”

He promised to, “promote unity and collective leadership in the handling of the Cyprus problem, through the upgrading and more effective operation of the National Council.”

Indeed, DISY is poised to return to the National Council following a party decision on Wednesday.

Above and beyond European foreign policy decisions which are taken collectively by the member-states, Christofias said that “Cyprus can become a bridge between Europe and the countries in our region as well as those of the non-aligned movement.”

On the domestic scene, social justice was the watchword.

Christofias said that both his personal history and AKEL’s history constituted “a guarantee for an anthropocentric policy.”

The mixed economic model which he stands for is in line for an upgrade over the next five years.

The model is “based on the cooperation between the initiatives of the private, the public and the cooperative sectors”, he said.

The successful track record of the model and its individual merits have “convinced [us] that his model has not exhausted its possibilities.”

He lauded the entirety of the electorate because “with their massive participation, away from fanaticism, bigotry and excesses, they have confirmed that democracy in our country has matured.”

“We can all be proud of” the fact that “the citizens trust the political process and the politicians.”

Christofias buried the hatchet of election skirmishes between himself and outgoing President Tassos Papadopoulos over the achievements of the government.

“We can certify that during Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos’ term in office a great deal has been accomplished.”

He also spoke of the achievements of the House of Representatives during his tenure as House President from May 2001 until now.

He singled out the harmonisation of Cyprus with the acquis communautaire and the strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy as the two greatest achievements of his House Presidency.

“Cyprus can do better”, Christofias said thus inaugurating the “new era which will be marked by the renewal of the political life of the country and the modernisation of our society.”