Crisis-hit Cyprus gets new Cabinet, Finance Min
Nicosia: Cyprus's communist President Demetris
Christofias swore in a new cabinet on Friday, giving fellow party
member and new Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias the task of
bringing the island back from the brink of economic meltdown.
Christofias reshuffled his government after a munitions
blast killed 13 people and knocked out the Mediterranean
island's biggest power plant on July 11, leading to rolling
daily power cuts, economic disruption and public uproar.
"The government will take all the necessary actions and
will take all necessary measures to tackle the difficult
economic situation," Christofias said at the swearing-in
"Our country is passing through critical times," he added,
with eurozone member Cyprus having recently been downgraded by
two international ratings agencies and increasingly touted as
a possible candidate for an EU bailout.
Cyprus, which was already struggling to get its finances
in order, was left reeling after the explosion, which all but
crushed any hopes of economic growth this year.
The need for a new cabinet arose after centre-right party
Diko abandoned its partnership with the Christofias on
Wednesday, saying talks had collapsed over measures to address
economic and political woes.
Last week, Christofias had called on his cabinet to resign
after Diko urged a reshuffle.
Kazamias said he was upbeat about steering Cyprus out of
its economic quagmire.
"I am naturally optimistic that everything will contribute
positively for the boat to take a correct and steady course,"
he told reporters soon after being sworn in.
"My reasons for optimism are also on the issue of
financial markets. We have every reason to be optimistic since
each of us will do our share," said Kazamias, a member of
Christofias's AKEL party.
Asked about the possibility of Cyprus entering the EU
support mechanism for eurozone members, he said: "There is no
such issue at this time."
Career diplomat Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, a woman and
independent, was named the new foreign minister, and Demetris
Eliades was appointed to head the defence ministry.
The ministers of interior, labour and justice remained
unchanged, Neoclis Sylikiotis, Sotiroulla Charalambous and
Loukas Louka kept their jobs.
Christofias's party is now in a clear minority in
Parliament, which could make it difficult for the President to
push through legislation.
The party has only 19 deputies in the 56-member House of