A Political Analysis of the Cyprus Presidency

Principal Investigator: Petros Zarounas

Affiliation: Independent Researcher

Aims and Objectives - Summary

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the reasons why the institution of the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus has become extremely powerful, with very few checks, and with serious consequences on the workings of the political system of the Republic.

 

The first section of the study will attempt to identify the geostrategic and other reasons behind the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, the role of Greece, Turkey and Britain towards the adoption of the presidential system, and the rationale pertaining to the division of powers between the President and the Vice President.

 

It will then examine the various subsequent attempts to change the Constitution, starting with the London Conference and moving on to Makarios’ proposals leading to the constitutional crisis of December 1963, the armed clashes, and the exit of the Turkish Cypriots from the state structure and institutions, including the Vice Presidency. It will also consider the adoption of the “law of necessity” which aimed to overcome the obstacles created by the TC exodus from the bicommunal state, as well as the attempts to bring the TCs back to the state, during the period that followed the Kofinou crisis and the withdrawal of the Greek battalion from Cyprus. The inter-communal negotiations which followed, aimed at the abolition of the TC veto powers in the central government, in exchange for more regional autonomy (a compromise which seems to have had the support of Greece and Turkey).

 

The study will move on the consider the external and internal pressures and threats against President Makarios, which led to his overthrow in July 1974. It will then turn to the transition from Makarios to Kyprianou and the attempt by the House of Representatives to force President Kyprianou to resign. Next, it will consider how the Cyprus Republic developed and matured in the post Makarios era.

 

In the final part, the study will attempt to explain how the lack of substantial checks allows the current President to take advantage of the numerous “super-powers” for his own benefit, without fear of any legal or political repercussions.