|The President of the Republic of Cyprus|
Born in Nicosia on 24 April 1919, he is the son of eminent Cypriot barrister, John Clerides, Q.C., C.B.E.. He has received secondary education at the Pancyprian Gymnasium, Nicosia and in the United Kingdom.
During World War II , Mr. Clerides joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1939 and in 1942 was shot down and taken prisoner until the end of the War. He was mentioned in despatches for distinguished services.
After the War he studied law in England at the University of London -- King's College and obtained his degree in LL.B. in 1948. He was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1951. From 1951-1960 he practiced law in Cyprus.
He attended the London Conference in 1959 and was appointed Minister of Justice during the transitional period from Colonial Rule to Independence, 1959-1960. During the same period he headed the Greek Cypriot delegation at the Joint Constitutional Commission.
In July 1960 he was elected Member of the House of Representatives with the Patriotic Front for the Nicosia District constituency. On 16 August 1960 he was elected President of the House of Representatives, a post he held until July 1976.
He acted on a number of occasions as President of the Republic deputizing for the President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios, during the latter's absence abroad.
He was appointed Head of the Greek Cypriot delegation to the London Conference convened in January 1964 to consider the Cyprus problem and its solution.
In view of his knowledge of the Cyprus problem he was appointed in June 1968 Negotiator to represent the Greek Cypriot community in the intercommunal talks. As a result of this appointment he held talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Denktash till April 1976.
He represented Cyprus on a number of occasions during the discussion of the Cyprus problem at the United Nations Security Council.
He founded the Unified Party in February 1969, which received the greatest number of seats in the 1970 parliamentary elections (15). In May 1976 he founded the Democratic Rally Party together with leading members of the Unified Party, the Progressive Front and the Democratic National Front. The Democratic Rally Party was first represented in the House in 1981 with 11 seats and became the biggest political party in 1985 with 19 seats. It maintained its leading position in coaltion with the Liberal Party gaining 20 seats in the 1991 and 1996 parliamentary elections.
After the military coup of 15 July 1974, which forced the late President Archbishop Makarios to leave Cyprus, Mr. Clerides temporarily and in accordance with the Constitution, performed the duties of President of the Republic until the Archbishop's return in December 1974. During that period he resolved with Mr. Denktash a number of humanitarian problems of both communities.
He was President of the Cyprus Red Cross from 1961 to 1963 and was awarded a Certificate of Honour and Life Membership in recognition of distinguished service to the Red Cross. He was awarded, by approval of His Holiness Pope John XXIII, the Gold medal of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in recognition of the services and understanding shown while Head of the Greek Cypriot delegation at the Joint Constitutional Commission in relation to the Roman Catholic religious groups in Cyprus.
In addition to his mother tongue, he is fluent in English.
Mr. Clerides is married to Erini-Lila and has a daughter, Katerina, who is a member of the House of Representatives.