Glafcos Clerides

Glafcos Ioannou Clerides (Greek: Γλαύκος Ιωάννου Κληρίδης; 24 April 1919 – 15 November 2013) was a Greek Cypriot politician and barrister who served as the fourth president of Cyprus from 1993 to 2003. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living former President of Cyprus.

Glafcos Clerides
Glafcos Clerides (cropped).jpg
4th President of Cyprus
In office
28 February 1993 – 28 February 2003
Preceded byGeorge Vassiliou
Succeeded byTassos Papadopoulos
In office
23 July 1974 – 7 December 1974
Preceded byNikos Sampson (acting)
Succeeded byMakarios III
1st President of the House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byTassos Papadopoulos
1st President of DISY
In office
Succeeded byYiannakis Matsis
Personal details
Born(1919-04-24)24 April 1919
Nicosia, Cyprus
Died15 November 2013(2013-11-15) (aged 94)
Nicosia, Cyprus
Political partyPatriotic Front (1959–1969)
Eniaion (1969–1976)
Democratic Rally (from 1976)
(m. 1947; died 2007)
Alma materKing's College London

Personal lifeEdit

Clerides was born in Nicosia. He was the eldest son of the lawyer and statesman Ioannis Clerides and Elli Argyridou. He had one sister, Chrysanthi, and one brother, Xanthos.[1] Clerides married Lila Erulkar (31 October 1921 – 6 June 2007),[2] the Indian Jewish daughter of Dr Abraham Erulkar, personal physician to Mahatma Gandhi, in London in 1947.[3][4] They have a daughter, Katherine (born 1949 in London), who was a member of the House of the Representatives for the Democratic Rally Party.[5] He died on 15 November 2013 at a hospital in Nicosia.[6] He was 94 years old.

World War IIEdit

During World War II, he served in the British Royal Air Force.[7] In 1942 his airplane was shot down over Germany and he was captured.[7] He remained a prisoner of war until the end of the war.[5] His name was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished services.

Post-World War IIEdit

Following the war, he studied law at King's College London graduated in 1948 as a barrister through Gray's Inn, and later practiced law in Cyprus. He was a member of the EOKA organization that sought the liberation of Cyprus from British Rule and participated in the struggle under the pseudonym "Ypereides." During that period he defended numerous EOKA fighters arrested by the British. One of his most famous accomplishments was a preparation of a dossier that enumerated and provided evidence of instances of Human Rights violations by the Imperial administration of Cyprus and its agents.

Cypriot independenceEdit

Clerides participated in the 1959 London Conference on Cyprus and during the transitional period, from colonial administration to independence (1959–1960), he served as Minister of Justice. During the same period he was Head of the Greek Cypriot delegation in the Joint Constitutional Committee. In July 1960, he was elected to the House of Representatives which, in turn, elected him as its first President. He held this position until 22 July 1976. In the first presidential elections Clerides backed Makarios III, the other candidate being his father Ioannis Clerides.

Cyprus became independent in 1960, and Clerides gained political power as a member of the United Democratic Party. Following the 15 July 1974 coup d'état in which EOKA B, a Greek Cypriot pro-enosis paramilitary organisation, overthrew the democratically elected Makarios and installed Nikos Sampson as a President with dictatorial powers, Turkey invaded Cyprus. Eight days later, Sampson was forced to resign. On the same day, 23 July 1974, Clerides temporarily assumed the duties of the President of the Republic, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution. He exercised these duties until 7 December 1974, the day of the return of Archbishop Makarios, President of the Republic, who was forced to flee on 16 July 1974 on account of the coup. Both President Makarios and the House of Representatives thanked Glafcos Clerides publicly for the task he performed during that period. Critics, especially from EDEK refer to that period as the post-coup, implying that democracy was not fully restored until the return of Makarios. Clerides on the other hand has repeatedly condemned what he called "violence and counter violence" that led to the coup (i.e. the conflict between EOKA-B and "efedriko", a special anti-terrorist police body formed to fight EOKA-B).


From 1961 to 1963 he held the position of President of the Cyprus Red Cross. In recognition of his outstanding services he was awarded a Certificate of Honour and Life Membership in recognition of distinguished services to the Red Cross.

In 1976 he founded the right wing Democratic Rally (Demokratikos Synagermos). He was a candidate for the presidency of Cyprus six times and elected to two five-year terms, in 1993 and in 1998. In 1998 his main opponent was Georgios Iakovou. He was defeated in the 2003 presidential election by Tassos Papadopoulos.

He was the author of the autobiographical overtoned depiction of 20th century Cypriot history, My Deposition, in four volumes (Alithia Publishing, Cyprus, 1988). Glafcos Clerides is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

Presidency of CyprusEdit

During his presidency (1993–2003)[5] Cyprus prospered significantly. Cyprus' stable economy made the island the wealthiest of the ten countries which acceded to the European Union in 2004. The Clerides government is credited with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. He lost some of his popularity due to his strong support of the Annan Plan for the reunification of Cyprus. While 65% of the Turkish Cypriot community voted in favor of the plan in a referendum, the Greek Cypriot community rejected it by over 75% of the popular vote.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "On File: India-born former first lady of Cyprus passes away". 20 June 2007.
  3. ^ "A most devoted couple". Cyprus Mail. 17 November 2013. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Erulkar -".
  5. ^ a b c "Profile: Glafcos Clerides", BBC News, 3 January 2003
  6. ^ "Glafcos Clerides: Man who steered Cyprus into EU dies", BBC News, 15 November 2013, retrieved 15 November 2013
  7. ^ a b "Glafcos Clerides - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 15 November 2013. Archived from the original on 22 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2019.


External linksEdit

Preceded by Acting President of Cyprus
July 1974 – December 1974
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Cyprus
Succeeded by