The Cyprus government is to undergo a mini-reshuffle next week after popular Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias tendered his resignation citing health reasons, a spokesman said on Friday.
Kazamias is credited with standing up to powerful public sector trade unions in order to push through an austerity drive which aims to get the island's bloated deficit down to below the EU-required 3 percent of GDP this year.
A member of the ruling communist AKEL party, Kazamias is also credited with neatly steering Eurozone Cyprus away from the need for an EU bailout, despite a series of sovereign debt downgrades to junk status over exposure to Greek debt.
"The president of the republic (Demetris Christofias) has decided to go forward with a partial reshuffle of the government," said a written statement from government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.
"The resulting decisions will be announced on Monday."
Stefanou said the minister had tendered his resignation some days ago "exclusively and only for reasons of health".
This was in response to media reports on Friday that Kazamias had stood down because of his opposition to the replacement of central bank governor Athanasios Orphanides and because of the reluctance of Christofias to give the green light to legalizing casinos in government-held areas of the island.
"Naturally the president urged the finance minister to remain in his post but he insisted on his resignation," said Stefanou.
Orphanides's term expires on April 30 with daily Phileleftheros saying it will not be renewed.