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Tassos Papadopoulos
Τάσσος Παπαδόπουλος
5th President of Cyprus

In office
28 February 2003 – 28 February 2008
Vice President vacant
Preceded by Glafcos Clerides
Succeeded by Demetris Christofias
2nd President of the House of Representatives

In office
Preceded by Glafcos Clerides
Succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou
2nd President of DIKO

In office
Preceded by Spyros Kyprianou
Succeeded by Marios Karoyian
Personal details
Born (1934-01-07)7 January 1934
Nicosia, British Cyprus
Died 12 December 2008(2008-12-12) (aged 74)
Nicosia, Republic of Cyprus
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Fotini Georkadji (m. 1972)
Children 2
Alma mater King's College London
Religion Greek Orthodox Church

Efstathios "Tassos" Nikolaou Papadopoulos (Greek: Ευστάθιος (Τάσσος) Νικολάου Παπαδόπουλος; 7 January 1934 – 12 December 2008)[1][2] was a Cypriot politician and barrister who served as the fifth President of Cyprus from February 28, 2003 to February 28, 2008.

Early life[edit | edit source]

His parents were Nicolas and Aggeliki from Assia. He was the first of three children. Papadopoulos attended the Ayios Kassianos and Elenio primary schools in Nicosia and then the Pancyprian Gymnasium. His father's circle which included lawyers and judges, were influential on his future career and he went on to study law at King's College London before becoming a barrister-at-law through Gray's Inn.[3]

His life in London would prove to be pivotal in his future political life. In the second year of his studies he lived with future politician Spyros Kyprianou and Lellos Demetriades (lawyer and future mayor of Nicosia) both of whom had started their political life by founding EFEKA (short for National Student Union of Cypriots in England).

Political career[edit | edit source]

Papadopoulos returned to Cyprus on the 20th of March 1955, ten days before the start of EOKA's armed struggle against British colonialism. At first he joined EOKA and became regional chief of operations in Nicosia, whilst Polycarpos Yiorkadjis was held captive. Soon however, he became active in PEKA, the political arm of the EOKA guerilla organisation. In 1958, aged 24, he became PEKA's general secretary.

He took part in the London Conference in 1959 and was one of the two delegates (besides the AKEL delegates) who voted against the signing of the London and Zurich Agreements. He was also one of the four representatives of the Greek Cypriot side at the Constitutional Commission which drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.

Ministerial appointments[edit | edit source]

Following independence, aged 25 and to his own surprise he was appointed first as provisional Minister of Internal Affairs and soon afterwards as Minister of Labour.[3] He was the youngest member of the new cabinet and remains the youngest minister to date to serve in a Cypriot government.[4] For the following 12 years he served successively as Minister of the Interior, Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Minister of Health and Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The United Party[edit | edit source]

In 1969 he co-founded the Eniaion Komma (United Party) a party aligned to and supportive of Makarios. Glafcos Clerides became president whilst Papadopoulos remained vice-president of the party. At the Parliamentary elections held on 15 July 1970 he was elected member of the House of Representatives, standing as an Eniaion Party candidate for the Nicosia constituency. However, following a difference of opinion with the leader he later resigned from the party.

1974 Coup d'etat[edit | edit source]

In 1974 Papadopoulos was imprisoned by the military forces responsible for the coup d'état. Belonging to Makarios' cabinet made him a prime target and he was rounded up in Famagusta where he was imprisoned. He was released on the evening before the first Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Other roles[edit | edit source]

File:Antigoni Papadopoulou GODIK.jpg

Tassos Papadopoulos and Antigoni Papadopoulou

He served as advisor to the first representative of the Greek Cypriot side in the intercommunal talks, Glafcos Clerides, until April 1976 and subsequently he took up that post himself, serving until July 1978. He represented Cyprus at many international conferences, particularly the annual congresses of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Furthermore he represented the Greek Cypriot community in many recourses by Cyprus filed at the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

Until his election he practised law in Nicosia.

Standing as an independent candidate, he was re-elected in the election of 5 September 1976. From July 22, to September 20, 1976 he served as President of the House of Representatives. In the 19 May 1991 parliamentary elections he was elected member of the House of Representatives, standing as a candidate for the Democratic Party in the Nicosia constituency. He was re-elected on 26 May 1996.

Democratic Party[edit | edit source]

Photo session of participants in Russia - EU Summit

On 7 October 2000, he was elected unopposed as the President of the Democratic Party during the historic electoral congress at which the founder of the Party, Spyros Kyprianou, stood down. At the 27 May 2001 elections he was re-elected at the head of the Democratic Party ticket.

He was a member of the National Council, Chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs and member of the Committee on Selection and the Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs. He was also Co-chairman of the Joint Cyprus-EU Parliamentary Committee.

President of Cyprus[edit | edit source]

He campaigned for the 2003 presidential election on a platform that he would be able to secure a better deal over the Cyprus dispute than the incumbent Glafcos Clerides. He was backed not by just his own party, Diko, but also the party of the Left AKEL and social democratic Kisos and even by many nationalist members of the Democratic Rally of which 61% of party members opposed the plan.[5]

Papadopoulos assumed the Presidency on 28 February 2003 after winning a first round majority with 51.51% of the vote.[6] Before the 2004 Annan Plan Referendum he urged Greek Cypriots to vote No, declaring "I received a state. I will not deliver a community".

Papadopoulos was a candidate for a second term in office in the 2008 presidential election. In the first round, held on February 18, he placed third, slightly behind Dimitris Christofias and Ioannis Kasoulides with about 31.8% of the vote, and was therefore eliminated from the second round. He had enjoyed a slight advantage in opinion polls prior to the election and his elimination was regarded as a surprise. He promptly conceded defeat on the day of the election.[7]

Family[edit | edit source]

He was married to Fotini Georkadji, daughter of Anastasios G. Leventis and widow of assassinated politician Polykarpos Georkadjis, from 1972 until his death in 2008. Papadopoulos had been best man at his wife's first wedding.

They had two children, Nikolas and Anastasia, and Papadopoulos raised Fotini's older children Constantinos and Maria from her marriage to Polykarpos Georkadjis.

Death[edit | edit source]

Tassos Papadopoulos died on December 12, 2008 at 13:05 pm of small cell lung carcinoma. He was a heavy smoker. Papadopoulos had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Nicosia General Hospital on November 22 for the disease. The funeral took place on December 15, 2008 in Agia Sophia church in Nicosia.

2009 grave robbing[edit | edit source]

On 11 December 2009, it was reported that thieves had dug up the grave and stolen the body of the former president.[8][9] Republic of Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias described it as "sacrilege".[10] On 8 March 2010, the body was discovered in a cemetery near the capital. The family expressed their relief and denied any ransom had been paid.

Cypriot police said DNA results obtained early on 9 March 2010 positively identified the corpse as Papadopoulos's, after a telephone tip-off led police to the body the previous night.[11]

Honours and awards[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has died; Famagusta Gazette, 12 December 2008
  2. Cypriot ex-leader dies of cancer; BBC News Online, 12 December 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 Drousiotis, Antigone (2008-02-10). "ΤΑΣΣΟΣ ΠΑΠΑΔΟΠΟΥΛΟΣ "Νομίζαμε ότι θα αλλάξουμε τον κόσμο" (Tassos Papadopoulos - We thought we would change the World)" (in Greek). Phileleftheros. http://www.phileleftheros.com/main/main.asp?gid=441&id=535829. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  4. "Profile: Tassos Papadopoulos". BBC. 17 February 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2769789.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  5. Smith, Helena (February 17, 2003). "Profile 'Tassos Papadopoulos'". The Guardian. London. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/feb/17/eu.cyprus. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  6. "Presidential election 2003 - Results". Republic of Cyprus - Ministry of Interior. http://kypros.org/Ekloges2003/index.php%3flocale=en&district=0. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  7. Associated Press (2008-02-17). "Incumbent eliminated from Cyprus presidential election in major surprise". http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/02/17/news/Cyprus-Election.php. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  8. Grave robbers steal ex-president's body ABC News Dec 11, 2009
  9. Former President's corpse stolen from grave
  10. Grave robbers steal former Cyprus president's remains BBC News 11 December 2009
  11. Cyprus police confirm corpse is ex-leader The Independent 9 March 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (in German) (pdf). p. 1820. http://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/VHG/XXIV/AB/AB_10542/imfname_251156.pdf. Retrieved November 2012. 
  13. Recipients list Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. (.doc file)
  14. Slovak republic website, State honours Archived 2016-04-13 at the Wayback Machine. : 1st Class received in 2007 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)

External links[edit | edit source]

Political offices
Preceded by
Glafcos Clerides
President of Cyprus
Succeeded by
Dimitris Christofias

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