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21 July, 2024
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Cyprus grieves over loss of beloved minister

President crushed over death of close associate Zeta Emilianidou, state funeral on Friday


Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades says his entire Cabinet was “crushed” by the death of Labor Minister Zeta Emilianidou, whose funeral is to be held on Friday in Nicosia. 

In his message in the Book of Condolence for Emilianidou, who passed away on Monday in Athens after a recent brain aneurysm, Anastasiades wrote that he and his ministers were “crushed by the loss of our beloved Zeta.”

The president said the political system was “graced with her presence” and added the minister’s passing was not just a loss for the government but also the country, society and its people.

Emilianidou has been credited for carrying out Anastasiades’ vision of a “strong welfare state” with the president saying the minister overseeing social security was distinguished by her insight, high sense of responsibility, creativity, and efficiency.

'She would often say to me Christina, please check on this or that person, see how we can help out' the permanent secretary said

The minister was also known for taking on tough issues within the labor and social welfare systems, often seeking compromises away from publicity but not shying away from standing firm against special interests, such as singlehandedly defending Sunday shopping hours.

Emilianidou also had voiced concerns over strict COVID measures at times, joining forces with the finance ministry to call on health officials to weigh both health and economic options while also remaining a team player.

A longtime friend of Emilianidou, health ministry’s permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki, said the late minister was very concerned about individual cases, and the two would often discuss Cabinet decisions.

“She would often say to me Christina, please check on this or that person, see how we can help out,” the permanent secretary said.

Anastasiades’ message also pointed to Emilianidou’s main characteristic as being “empathy, modesty, and humanity.”

"We will keep your memory alive forever, our beloved Zeta,” Anastasiades wrote.

The book of condolence was set to close Thursday afternoon at 3pm and reopen Friday morning at 8am through afternboon at 3pm.

The casket will be available for public viewing on Friday morning from 8am through 10am, while a state funeral will take place at 11am in Ayia Sofia Church in Strovolos.

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