Cypriot parliamentarians elected on Thursday the 35-year-old Annita Demetriou as the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Demetriou was elected in the second round of voting in the parliament with 25 votes in favour – 17 from her party Democratic Rally, 4 from National Popular Front and 4 from Democratic Front.
In her first speech after her election, Demetriou said that she will seek her presidency to be a model of moderation, reconciliation and understanding. She also referred to the devaluation of the political process and politicians by the people and said that “I feel that we should work to reduce the gap”.
“Today we are called more than ever to restore our lost credibility and in order to achieve this we must work with objectivity, impartiality and above all with collaborations, building the Cyprus of tomorrow, the Cyprus we deserve,” she said.
At the same time, she said that now more than ever there’s a need to defend democracy and institutions “through our own attitude and choices”.
“So what I will seek is for the Presidency of the Parliament to be a continuous model of moderation, reconciliation and understanding,” she noted.
As she said, this is a difficult parliamentary term with very important pending reforms that will establish a new, healthier model of growth and will renew the relationship of trust with the citizens.
“It is a mandate that is called to open the gates of the Parliament to transparency, participation and to communicate directly and honestly with the citizens. It is, mandate, that will remove discrimination and restrictions and strengthen inclusion, that will give new opportunities to all and everyone, whatever they are, wherever they believe, wherever they belong,” she said.
She added that the new Parliament is called to manage new challenges, to counter new dangers and to protect the future of the country, for a free, united, peaceful and prosperous common homeland. In a difficult period, she noted, full of negativity and tension, conciliation is required, so that Cyprus’ negotiations can take place and in order to get rid of half a century of occupation.
She also said that she hopes that her election will break the glass ceilings and give the opportunity to everyone to be judged on the basis of their value, without being canceled or pulled back due to their characteristics or gender.