Dimitris Christofias, Former President of Cyprus, Dies at 72

The former President of the Republic of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias died on Friday afternoon at the age of 72.

Christofias was hospitalized in Cyprus for several days, since he had been critically ill.

During the last few days he was in the intensive care unit of Nicosia’s General Hospital.

Christofias served as the sixth President of Cyprus from 2008 to 2013, when the current Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades took office.

Christofias was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Cyprus (AKEL), and was the first, and so far the only, Communist head of state in Cyprus and in the entire European Union.

He was the only Cypriot president not to seek re-election, citing his failure to achieve his “lifes vision” of reunifying the country that had been split since Turkey invaded in 1974 following a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

After his March 2008 rise to power, Christofias was hailed as the leader with the best chance to achieve a peace breakthrough that had eluded his predecessors, thanks to long-standing ties with the Turkish Cypriot left-wing trade union movement.

But all the optimism faded as talks with two Turkish Cypriot leaders dragged on over five years without tangible results. Some faulted Christofias for allowing momentum to drain from the process.

“I will leave truly miserable, because what I had promised can’t happen given Turkey’s intransigence, so from here on in, Ill suffer along with you as a common citizen,” he had told municipal officials shortly before leaving office in 2013.