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Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD) has been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe following the resignation of Pedro Agramunt (Spain, EPP/CD) on 6 October 2017.
Despite the fact that the European People's Party did not support her candidacy and she was forced to run as an independent candidate, 132 PACE members voted for Kirakaides voted. She obtained a large majority over the other candidate, Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD). She will remain in office until the opening of the next ordinary session (Strasbourg, 22-26 January 2018). She will be the 30th President of PACE since 1949, the first Cypriot, and the third woman to take up the post.
Remarkably, Kiriakides will remain in office until the opening of the next PACE session scheduled for January 22-26, 2018. She will become the 30th president of PACE since 1949, the first Cypriot and the third woman to take the post.
“This election comes during extraordinary times for this Assembly, times that have seen our credibility and integrity questioned. Times that have led to the often wrong type of publicity for the work done in this Assembly, leading to the questioning of the principles of transparency and integrity of the institutions of the Council of Europe. These are challenges and responsibilities for us all. But mostly, for myself as a newly elected President of this Assembly. My decision to run for the Presidency stemmed solely from my firm belief in the Parliamentary Assembly, in democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and my passion to work tirelessly. Today you have given me the opportunity, with the trust you have placed in me, to work towards these. In the upcoming few months my priority is to bring about calmness, consensus, credibility and unity. To work tirelessly and openly against corruption. To raise the bar so that we all follow the same principles and code of ethics. To do this, I will need the support of all political groups, of the Secretary General and the staff of the Council of Europe. Because this is why we are all here,” Ms Kyriakides said.
As the correspondent of the TV channel "112 Ukraine" from Strasbourg specified, the Cypriot party has already started to fulfill her duties. "Before that, she thanked everyone who voted for her, and her family, however she did not make any statements about Russia," the correspondent added.
Ms Kyriakides was orn on 10 March 1956 in Nicosia, Cyprus, Stella Kyriakides studied psychology at Reading and Manchester Universities. At the Cypriot Ministry of Health, she was in charge of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1979-2006. She was elected to the Parliament of Cyprus in 2006, where she is a member of the Committee on Health Affairs and of the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs and Vice-President of the Democratic Rally Party.
President of the First Breast Cancer Movement in Cyprus in 1999, she was appointed by the Ministerial Council as President of the National Committee on Cancer Strategy in 2016. She organised the first breast cancer awareness campaign at the Council of Europe in 2013. At the Assembly, she was Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development as well as a member of the Monitoring Committee and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.
She was a contact parliamentarian for the “No Hate Parliamentary Alliance” and the Council of Europe campaign against Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2015), as well as the General Rapporteur for Children's Rights (2013-2015).
Kiriakides adheres to right-wing convictions: she is a member of the Democratic Union. In 2013, the leader of this political force, Nikos Anastasiadis, was elected president of Cyprus. Kiriakides became Cyprus representative in PACE in 2012, and in 2016 headed the Cypriot delegation.
Ukrainian delegation in the PACE supported the Lithuanian diplomat Emanuelis Zingeris, who is known for his tough stance on Russia. But Kiriakides caused concern among the deputies, since she never publicly expressed her attitude to Russian aggression and sanctions policy. However, following the results of the elections, Ukrainian delegation notes that although the neutral position of Kiriakides is not what Kyiv needs now, it is ready to work with it to restore trust in the PACE.
"Despite preliminary agreements, socialists gave their votes to Ms Kyriakidis. This is a scenario on destroying all the agreements that are in place. The neutral stance held by Cypriot Stella Kiriakidis is not what Ukraine needs now," member of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, People's Deputy Boryslav Bereza said to Era Media.
"After the election of the new PACE president, Ukrainian delegation, which supported the candidacy of Emanuel Zingeris, is ready to actively cooperate with her for the sake of returning confidence in PACE... In her first speech, the president said that her priority is the fight against corruption, and she will focus on it. In our opinion, political corruption is an urgent issue, as Russian Federation has inculcated corruption in all international institutions. We also believe that the key principles, basic for the Council of Europe, should be the focus of attention - respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all member countries," said Iryna Gerashchenko, the member of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, the first deputy chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.
Recall, PACE President Pedro Agramunt decided not to wait until he was fired from his post, and announced about his voluntary resignation.
In April of this year, the PACE president unexpectedly and without any agreement, flew to Syria as part of the Russian delegation. There he met with the head of state Bashar Assad and did not say a word of condemnation in connection with the fighting in the country.
This became a sufficient basis for expressing the lack of confidence of Agramunt from the side of the PACE Bureau. It was decided that he was not authorized to make any official visits, attend any meetings or make any public statements on behalf of the assembly.
In fact, during the whole summer, the PACE has been working out the mechanism of the chairman's resignation. And if Agramunt did not apply for resignation, he would be "asked" to do it on Monday, October 9, against his will and with imposing political sanctions.