NICOSIA - Former leader of ruling Disy’s youth branch Christoforos Fokaides was appointed Thursday as the new Defence Minister, replacing Tasos Mitsopoulos who died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage last month.
The 1974-born politics lecturer at European University in Nicosia is from occupied Famagusta and will be sworn in by President Anastasiades on Monday, an official announcement said yesterday.
Fokaides holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with Turkish Studies and Politics from the University of Cyprus.
He also has a Master’s degree in European Politics and Democracy from Kent University.
He had been accepted for a six-month visiting scholarship at prestigious Yale University in the US that would have begun next semester.
But Fokaides had another challenging option coming up since he was next in line to get a parliamentary seat if Disy MP Lefteris Christoforou becomes an MEP.
Euro elections are scheduled for May 25, and next in line now if Christoforou’s parliamentary seat is vacated is Evgenios Hamboulla.
Having served as Nedisy leader for almost four years, Fokaides was – up until his appointment - the right-wing party’s political strategy drafting secretary as well as assistant spokesman.
Fokaides ran as a candidate for Famagusta MP as well as for an MEP seat in the past.
His key task at the ministry will be overseeing a government proposal to reduce National Guard service from the current 24 months to eventually 15 months.