Tassos Papadopoulos

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Tassos Papadopoulos

Efstathios "Tassos" Nikolaou Papadopoulos (Greek: Τάσος Παπαδόπουλος; January 7, 1934 - December 12, 2008) was the president of Cyprus from 2003 until 2008.


Papadopoulos was born in Lefkosia, Cyprus and studied law in London (Gray’s Inn, Barrister-at-Law).

He was married to Fotini Michaelides (daughter of Anastasios Michaelides, mother's maiden name: Leventi) and they had four children: Constantinos, Maria, Nicholas and Anastasia. (Constantinos and Maria are the children of the murdered minister of interior Polykarpos Georkadjis married at the time to Fotini Michaelides)

He was hospitalized in intensive care on November 22, 2008 with severe breathing problems as a result of lung cancer. He was a longtime chain smoker. He died on December 12, 2008 and was buried three days later at Deftera Cemetery. His funeral, conducted by Archbishop Chrysostom II, was attended by president Dimitris Christofias and his entire cabinet, PM Kostas Karamanlis and FM Dora Bakoyannis, representing the Greek government; Giorgos Papandreou and Georgios Karatzaferis from the opposition parties. The eulogy was delivered by veteran politician Vasos Lyssarides. No Turkish Cypriot official attended.

In the wee hours of the morning of December 11, 2009, just one day before a scheduled 1-year memorial service, the remains of Papadopoulos were stolen from Deftera Cemetery. They were found late on March 8, 2010, buried in a different cemetery, after an anonymous tip to the police.


In the late fifties, Papadopoulos was active in PEKA, the political section of EOKA. In the run-up to Cypriot independence, he was named minister of the interior at age 25. After independence, he became minister for employment.

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.

For 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.

He served as advisor to the first representative of the Greek Cypriot side in the intercommunal talks, Mr. Glafkos 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 Organisation (ILO).

Furthermore, he represented Cyprus at the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Until his election he practiced law in Lefkosia.

At the Parliamentary elections held on July 15, 1970 he was elected member of the House of Representatives, standing as an Eniaion (United Nationalist Alignment) candidate for the Nicosia constituency. Standing as an independent candidate, he was re-elected in the election of September 5, 1976. From April until October 1976 he served as President of the House of Representatives. In the May 19, 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 May 26, 1996.

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

He campaigned for the 2003 presidential election on a platform that he would be able to secure better deal over the Cyprus dispute than the incumbent Glafkos Clerides. He was backed by not just his own party, Democratic Party, but also the socialist AKEL and social democrat KISOS.

Tassos Papadopoulos (right), U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash (left)

Mr. Papadopoulos assumed the Presidency on February 28, 2003.

As President, he signed the accession of Cyprus to the European Union on April 16, 2003 in Athens. Cyprus became a full member of the EU on May 1 of the following year.

Before the Cyprus reunification referendum, 2004 on the Annan plan, he urged Greek Cypriots to vote No, declaring "I received a state; I will not deliver a community". His recommendation is considered one of the reasons for the referendum's negative result on the Greek-Cypriot side.

Papadopoulos was defeated in his bid for reelection in 2008. He placed third behind DISY-supported Ioannis Kasoulidis and AKEL chairman Dimitris Christofias.

External links

Preceded by:
Glafkos Clerides
President of Cyprus
2003– 2008
Succeeded by:
Demetris Christofias