Friday, February 3, 2012

Demetris Christofias

Demetris Christofias (also spelled Dimitris Christofias, Greek: Δημήτρης Χριστόφιας, born 29 August 1946) is a left-wing Greek Cypriot politician and the current and sixth President of the Republic of Cyprus. Christofias was the General Secretary of AKEL and is Cyprus's first, and the European Union's first and so far only, communist head of state. He won the 2008 Cypriot presidential elections in the second round of voting. Throughout the election campaign, he pledged to restart talks with Turkish Cypriots in order to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute and reunify the island. He has also supported the closure of the British military bases on Cyprus.

Christofias was born on 29 August 1946 in the village of Dhikomo, Kyrenia. Christofias became involved in leftist politics early in his youth and held several positions with the youth movement of AKEL (the Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus). His father, who died in 1987, was a builder, member of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO).

Christofias had his secondary-school education at Nicosia Commercial Lyceum, from where he graduated in 1964. At the age of 14, he joined the progressive secondary-school students organisation PEOM and at the age of 18 he joined EDON (AKEL's United Democratic Youth Organisation), PEO Trade Unions and AKEL. In 1969, at the 5th Congress of EDON, he was elected member of the Central Council.

Christofias studied at the Institute of Social Sciences and the Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow. In Moscow he met his wife, Elsie Chiratou, and later returned to Cyprus and political life.

Dimitris Christofias married Elsie (Chiratou) Christofias in 1972 and they have three children – two daughters, Marianna and Christina, and a son, Christos.

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