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Tassos (Efstathios) Nikolaou Papadopoulos (in Greek, Τάσσος Νικολάου Παπαδόπουλος– 7 January 1934 – 12 December 2008) was a Cypriot politician. He served as President of the Republic of Cyprusmarker from February 28, 2003 to February 28, 2008.

His father, Nicolas, was a teacher and his mother Aggeliki was a housewife from the village of Assia. He was the first of three children. His sister Nitsa is 8 years younger and his brother Panos, 10 years younger. Papadopoulos spent his primary education at Ayios Kassianos and Elenio primary schools in Nicosia. He then attended secondary education at the Pancyprian Gymnasium. His father's circle which included lawyers and judges, were influential on his future career and he went on to study law at King's College Londonmarker before becoming a barrister-at-law through Gray's Innmarker.

His life in London would prove to be pivotal in his future political life. In the second year of his studies he cohabited with Spyros Kyprianou and Lellos Demetriades (lawyer and future mayor of Nicosia) both of whom had started their political life by founding EFEKA (short for National Student Union of Cypriots in England).

Political career

Papadopoulos returned to Cyprus on the 20th of March 1955, ten days before the start of EOKA's armed struggle against British colonialism. At first he joined EOKA and became regional chief operations in Nicosia, whilst Polycarpos Yiorkadjis was held captive. Soon however, he became active in PEKA, the political arm of the EOKA guerilla organisation. In 1958, aged 24, he became PEKA's general secretary.

He took part in the London Conference in 1959 and was one of the two delegates (besides the AKEL delegates) who voted against the signing of the London and Zurich Agreements. He was also one of the four representatives of the Greek Cypriot side at the Constitutional Commission which drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.

Ministerial appointments

Following independence, aged 25 and to his own surprise he was appointed first as provisional Minister of Internal affairs and soon afterwards as Minister of Labour. He was the youngest member of the new cabinet and remains the youngest minister to serve in a Cypriot government . For the following 12 years he served successively as Minister of the Interior, Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Minister of Health and Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The United Party

In 1969 he co-founded the United Party (Eniaion Komma) a party aligned to and supportive of Makarios. Glafkos Clerides became president whilst Papadopoulos remained vice-president of the party. At the Parliamentary elections held on 15 July 1970 he was elected member of the House of Representatives, standing as an Eniaion Party candidate for the Nicosia constituency. However, following a difference of opinion with the leader he later resigned from the party.

1974 Coup d'etat

In 1974 Papadopoulos was imprisoned by the military forces responsible for the coup d'état. Belonging to Makarios' cabinet made him a prime target and he was rounded up in Famagustamarker where he was imprisoned. He was released on the evening before the first Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Other roles

He served as advisor to the first representative of the Greek Cypriot side in the intercommunal talks, Glafkos Klerides, until April 1976 and subsequently he took up that post himself, serving until July 1978. He represented Cyprus at many international conferences, particularly the annual congresses of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Furthermore he represented the Greek Cypriot community in many recourses by Cyprus filed at the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

Until his election he practised law in Nicosia.

Standing as an independent candidate, he was re-elected in the election of 5 September 1976. From July 22, to September 20, 1976 he served as President of the House of Representatives. In the 19 May 1991 parliamentary elections he was elected member of the House of Representatives, standing as a candidate for the Democratic Party in the Nicosia constituency. He was re-elected on 26 May 1996.

Democratic Party

On 7 October 2000, he was elected unopposed as the President of the Democratic Party during the historic electoral congress at which the founder of the Party, Spyros Kyprianou, stood down. At the 27 May 2001 elections he was re-elected at the head of the Democratic Party ticket.

He was a member of the National Council, Chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs and member of the Committee on Selection and the Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs. He was also Co-chairman of the Joint Cyprus-EU Parliamentary Committee.

President of Cyprus

He campaigned for the 2003 presidential election on a platform that he would be able to secure a better deal over the Cyprus dispute than the incumbent Glafkos Klerides. He was backed by not just his own party, Diko, but also the party of the Left AKEL and social democrat Kisos.

Papadopoulos assumed the Presidency on 28 February 2003 after winning a first round majority with 51.51% of the vote.Before the 2004 Annan Plan Referendum he urged Greek Cypriots to vote No, declaring "I received a state. I will not deliver a community".

Papadopoulos was a candidate for a second term in office in the 2008 presidential election. In the first round, held on February 17, he placed third, slightly behind Dimitris Christofias and Ioannis Kasoulides with about 31.8% of the vote, and was therefore eliminated from the second round. He had enjoyed a slight advantage in opinion polls prior to the election and his elimination was regarded as a surprise. He promptly conceded defeat on the day of the election.

Family

He was married to Fotini Michaelides (of the family of Anastasios Leventis) and they have four children: Constantinos and Maria (from Fotini's previous marriage with Polykarpos Georkadjis), and Nikolas and Anastasia.

Death

Tasos Papadopoulos died on December 12, at 13:05 pm, 2008 of small cell lung carcinoma. He was a heavy smoker. Papadopoulos had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Nicosia General Hospital on November 22 for the disease. The funeral took place on December 15 at 11:00 am in Agia Sophia church in Strovolos, Nicosia.

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