Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Pissarides open to finance minister proposal in new Anastasiades government

Nikos Anastasiades will comfortably win the second round of presidential elections in Cyprus this Sunday, obtaining as much as 60 percent of the vote. The first round of voting merely delayed the inevitable, as all that happened was that enough Tassos Papadopoulos’ loyalists from DIKO refused to back their party leadership’s choice of Anastasiades in favour of independent candidate Giorgos Lilikas, who presented himself as Papadopoulos’ political heir. 

These Papadopoulos loyalists will not en masse (or even significantly) vote on Sunday for the communist-backed candidate Stavros Malas, who edged out Lilikas to make the run-off against Anastasiades. (Other parties that backed Lilikas, such as EDEK and EVROKO, have also already made it clear that they will not be supporting Malas, with right-wing EVROKO now supporting Anastasiades and socialists EDEK likely to recommend a vote according to conscience). 

The most pressing problem facing Cyprus, after the Christofias government’s incredible mismanagement of the economy, is that the state is bankrupt and a loan of some €17bn, equivalent to the island’s annual GDP, is now required from the IMF, ECB and the European Commission. There have been a lot of rumours as to who Anastasiades will appoint as finance minister, to negotiate loan terms with the Troika and restructure and modernise Cyprus’ economy, with the name of Nobel Laureate Christophoros Pissarides emerging as a serious contender. Indeed, today, in an interview (above) with Bloomberg, Pissarides – who was one of the handful of Cypriot notables who formally nominated Anastasiades for the presidency – seems to be making himself available for the post.

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