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Vassos Lyssarides, a respected Cypriot Social Democrat Politician, dies at 100

Social Democrats worldwide mourn the passing of Vassos Lyssarides, founder of the Movement of Social Democrats of Cyprus, EDEK, who worked tirelessly for peace and democracy in his nation. In a post on his official Twitter account, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the country lost “one of its historical leaders who helped shape (its) identity.” A trained doctor, Lyssarides figured prominently in efforts to restore democratic governance to Cyprus after a 1974 coup by supporters of union with Greece. The coup triggered a Turkish invasion which split the island along ethnic lines. Lyssarides founded 1969 the socialist party EDEK, which he led until 2001. He was first elected to parliament in 1960 and held his seat without interruption until 2006. Between 1985-91, he served as Parliament Speaker. Lyssarides also served as vice-president of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Organization, a non-governmental group with a presence in more than 90 African and Asian countries that, according to its website, struggled against colonialism, apartheid, and armed conflict. He was also secretary-general of the International Committee in Solidary with South Africa, a body aiming to free then-imprisoned anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. He established many close relationships with African and Middle Eastern leaders, including Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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