Cypriot President Christofias Says He Won’t Seek Re-election

Cypriot president Demetris Christofias said he won’t seek reelection when Cypriots hold presidential elections in February, saying his main task of uniting the divided island hadn’t been accomplished.

“The Cyprus issue hasn’t been resolved and I don’t see any definitive progress in coming months,” Christofias told reporters in Nicosia today. “I won’t seek to be re-elected as president. The government will continue according to the constitution with its tasks until it handovers to the new government.”

Cyprus has remained divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded its northern part in response to a Greek inspired coup. The two communities failed to make any progress toward reunification in talks which resumed in 2008, four years after Greek Cypriots rejected a United Nations sponsored settlement plan which Turkish Cypriots accepted.

Christofias saw his popularity slump after an explosion of confiscated Iranian munitions on July 11 at a naval base which killed 13, injured 61 and knocked out half of the east Mediterranean island’s power production capacity that led to outages that hurt the economy. He rejected calls for his resignation over his role in the blast and dismissed the findings of an inquiry blaming him.

The government, which is unable to borrow from international markets for a year, may also have to support Cyprus Popular Bank PCL, the second largest Cypriot lender which was hurt by writedowns in Greek government debt, with as much as 2 billion euros to strengthen its capital.

“We had to face the largest systemic, capitalist crisis ever,” Christofias said today.

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