Cypriot Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou does not intend to remain in his current position after a Cabinet reshuffle expected to be announced next week, confirming earlier rumors that he wanted to step down following a tortuous run during the pandemic.
Ioannou, who has been both praised and criticized for issuing multiple executive emergency orders as well as instituting a controversial Safe Pass, conveyed his intent on Friday to President Nicos Anastasiades, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
CNA said the health minister made the comment when he was invited to comment on the possibility of his name being removed from being at the pleasure of the president in an imminent Cabinet reshuffle.
“I have already spoken with the President of the Republic, I have expressed my intention to step down,” Ioannou said.
Ioannou has been both praised and criticized for the way he handled the pandemic, after issuing emergency laws and instituting a controversial Safe Pass
The minister made the comment during a press conference which was held to mark two years from the official start of GESY, the island’s first-ever state health provider network.
GESY, which stands for General Health System in Greek, is a universal health insurance system established after former health minister Yiorgos Pamboridis held tough negotiations with stakeholders within state and private industries as well as and trade unions.
The implementation of GESY has been credited for Cyprus success amid the pandemic, according to officials.
Ioannou said he had already held discussions with Anastasiades on the issue but noted he did not know who will replace him.
“This is the President’s decision,” the minister said.
Ioannou is not the only minister announcing his departure ahead of next week’s reshuffle.
On Thursday, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis resigned her position following a phone call she had with Anastasiades.
The outgoing justice minister said she had sought clarification from the President following a barrage of bad publicity implicating her as the “weakest link” in the administration.
In a letter addressed to the president, which she made public, Yiolitis said she was “deeply insulted” when Anastasiades relayed over the phone concerns over his image and that of his administration while failing to acknowledge, according to the former minister, her achievements during her brief tenure.