Greek Cypriots, stunned by the sudden death of Archbishop Makarios, started solemnly mourning him while their political leaders worked to achieve a smooth transfer of power on this already trouble-ridden island.
No successor can carry the authority and prestige that accrued to Makarios in nearly three decades of leadership, but a presidential candidate was being sought who could maintain unity between rival political factions among the Greek Cypriots and resume negotiations on a Cyprus settlement with the Turkish Cypriots, backed by Turkey.
Even though Makarios had repeatedly offered to resign as head of state as part of a Greek-Turkish settlement, diplomats here said Makarios' death may ultimately improve on Cyprus by eliminating a dominating figure feared by the Turkish cypriots.
Diplomats added, however, that the long-term prospect for a settlement was jeopardized by the inevitable shakedown period of a new leader and the risk of conflict among the Greek Cypriots, who are almost evenly divided between Communist and conservative factions, and their respective conciliatory and hardline views on how to deal with the Turkish Cypriot problem.
The urgent priority for the Greek Cypriots today was to find temporary leadership to oversee a transition period - the first such democratic changeover in the history of the 17-year-old state, which has been governed by Makarios since independence.
The acting head of state, Spiros Kyprianou, has himself suffered two major heart attacks and had to be assisted in carrying out the formalities today after emerging from a bedroom where he was in isolation with a respiratory complaint.
Constitutionally, Kyprianou has 45 days to organize new elections for someone to serve out the rest of Makarios' term, due to expire next February. A decision on whether to schedule two elections so close together could well be delayed until after Makarios' state funeral Monday.
The news early today that Makarios had died of a heart attack produced no immediate tension along the cease-fire lines. Although armed Leftist and Rightist Greek Cypriot bands appeared in the streets here after Makarios' first heart attack in April, there was no reported mustering of arms today.
Greek Cypriot men, women and children started filing quielty past Makarios' body, many kissing his hand and gold-covered Bible and weeping. Meanwhile, the crepe-decked cars in the deserted streets carried politicans to a series of meetings to determine the timing and candidates for a presidential election.
Across the "green line," less than a hundred yards from the small church where Makarios' body lay in state clad in gilded robes and a blue-and-white Greek church flag, Turkish cypriots showed satisfaction at the death of Makarios. They believe that he had used his international prestige to oppress them since independence.
The Turkish Sypriot leadership announced that Makarios successor would be recognized only as the leader of the Greek Cypriot community, not as president of a Cyprus composed of both Grek and Turkish popula [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
The optimism generated during U.S. envoy Clark Clifford's mission here last spring has evaporated following the Turkish side's lack of response to the Greek Cypriot two-zone proposal in Vienna. Prospects have also dimmed as a result of the political paralysis in Ankara during elections, the election of Suteiman Demirel as prime-minister, and talk of possible Turkish-occupied Greek Cypriot resort city that had been left empty, apparently with a view to restoring it to Greek Cypriots in a settlement.
In response, Greek Cypriots have resumed their international campaign for an international conference designed to embarrass Turkey.
Politically, the search for a successor to Makarios could be highly divisive for Greek Cypriots, who have been made bitter by the rightist military coup and subsequent Turkish invasion that left this island divided three years ago.
It seems certain that Makarios will not be succeded as president by another churhcman. A new archbishop will be elected by Greek Cypriot men, but the favored candidate, the bishop of Paphos, is widely unpopular politically because of his business interests and right-wing views. Most Cypriots have agreed for years that Makarios, because of his special place in Cyprus history, would remain head of state as long as he wished, but that separation of church and state would follow his death.
The nominal favorite for president. Glafkos Clerides, long considered Makarios' chosen successor until the two quarreled last year, has been badly hurt by his association with extreme rightist groups. While signs pointed to a reconcilation with Makarios, their rift had not had time to heal before Makarios' death. Clerides would be strongly resisted by Cyprus' leftist groups.
On the left, Akel, the pro-Moscow Communist party that usually polls more than 35 per cent of the vote, is quarreling with the more radical Communist party, Edek, led by Dr. Vassos Lysarides. Makarios' personal physician, Lysarides advocates arming militias on Cyprus. These splits seem to rule out united left-wing presidential candidate.
A strong candidate is Tassos Papapoulos, 40, the lawyer who is chairing negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots and was being groomed by Makarios to take over the House speakership. Papadopoulos is acceptable to the left and enjoys support in business circles, but his youth is not an asset and Turkish antagonism is another drawback.
Speculation is increasing about the prospects of a non-politican, such as Pascal Pascalides, 52, now head of the Hellenic Mines Corp., the largest Cypriot industrial concern. Pasalides previously served for years as Makarios' private secretary. A "de-politicized" presidency would be welcomed by the Turkish Cypriots and would allow the parties to continue competing under an arbiter, rather than allowing one party to dominate the others.