The decisions to change people in the government scheme had been made long ago, and what remained was the scope of the reformation and the time when it would take place.
The interview of Nikos Christodoulidis in “F” on December 31, 2023, in combination with some other publications on the same day, marked the countdown to the reformation. One week – January 8, 2024 – President Christodoulidis announced his first extensive reshuffle of his government involving four of his eleven ministers.
The changes made their mark of a more political government, and at the same time less technocratic.Wanting in this way to give a new governance model more politics, which has a more intense party color compared to that of the first ten months. And this at a time when in the party offices there is strong discomfort with the way in which the President of the Republic acted in the matter of reformation. President Christodoulidis even reached the highest houses of some of the collaborating parties in search of new ministers, the case of the new Minister of Health, Michalis Damianou, who is also the vice-president of DIKO, is typical.
Of the four members of the Christodoulidis government which are replaced via the transformationthree were technocrats and one with a rich political and party background. Anna Prokopiou-Kukkidou, Petros Xenophontos and Popi Kanaris (outgoing ministers of Justice, Agriculture and Health respectively) belonged to the group of “technocrat ministers” of the Christodoulidis government. Together with Konstantinos Kobo (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Athina Michailidou (Education), Alexis Vafeadis (Transportation) and Giorgos Papanastasiou (Energy) they constituted the majority among the eleven ministerial positions. Konstantinos Ioannou (Minister of Interior), Makis Keraynos (Finance) belong to the group of those who had also served as ministers in the past, while Yiannis Panagiotou is one of the ministers with party roots since he comes from DIKO.
As regards in the three ministries, the politicians took the positions of the technocrats: in the Ministry of Health, the position of P. Kanaris is taken by Michalis Damianos (who holds the position of vice president in DIKO), in Georgia, Petros Xenophontos leaves and his position is taken by Maria Panagiotou(which belongs to the area of EDEK) and in Justice and Public Order, the position of Anna Prokopiou-Kukkidou is taken by Marios Hartsiotis, who as an experienced lawyer can be considered a technocrat, but he also has a political horizon in DISY. It should be noted that the selection of Maria Panagiotou in the Ministry of Agriculture is also interpreted as a reward for the work she accomplished as Environment Commissioner, something that did not go unnoticed by President Christodoulidis in the evaluation he had made.
As regards Ministry of Defense Michalis Giorgallas leaves and Vassilis Palmas takes his place, and in this case the portfolio remains in political hands. Vassilis Palmas had left the Anastasiades government to support Nikos Christodoulidis in the presidential elections of 2023. Eleven months after his departure, he returns to the government in the position of Minister of Defense.
Regarding the deputy ministers, what is recorded is: a) the “status quo” is not differentiated with the majority being technocrats, as well as the balance of friends being 5 women and two men, and b) for the filling of the two positions in the deputy ministries Innovation and European Union, the PtD chose people with a very good knowledge of their subject. Nikodimos Damianou is no stranger to the duties and requirements of the Ministry of Innovation, Research and Digital Policy. Just as the issues are not foreign to Marilena Rauna, who takes over the new Ministry of European Affairs with the main task of the Cyprus Presidency of the EU in 2026.
With regard to the three new Commissioners, an attempt was made to keep a balance between party and technocratic origin. Panagiotis Palates, who assumes the duties of Citizen Commissioner, was in the Presidential Office, was in the group of associates of President Christodoulidis and his political origins are in DIKO. Antonia Theodosiou, who assumes the position of Commissioner for the Environment, is considered to have a very good knowledge of the subject, with extensive activity in the field of environmentalists. Some do not rule out that the choice of A. Theodosiou comes as a result of recent statements by Giorgos Perdikis who showed that the Environmentalists would not be negative about their participation in the government scheme. The new commissioner of Mountainous Regions, Charalambos Christofinas, is placed in the DISY area and the Presidential Office speaks of a very active person and knowledgeable about the issues of mountain villages.