Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
It’s 2013 all over again in Cyprus, following the results of the first round of the presidential election that took place in the free areas of the island. The President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, and Stavros Malas moved to the second round that will be held on Sunday, February 4.
With 100 percent of the votes counted across the Republic of Cyprus and abroad, Anastasiades garnered 35.5 percent, Malas collected 30.3 percent, centrist DIKO president Nikolas Papadopoulos took 25.7 percent, far-right candidate Christos Christou had 5.6 percent and center-left Citizens Alliance president Giorgos Lillikas got 2.2 percent.
Participation in Sunday’s presidential elections was 71.4% compared to 83.14% in the 2013 elections and 66.74% in the 2016 parliamentary elections, Chief Returning Officer Kypros Kyprianou said as voting ended.
Observers said the turnout was reminiscent of a parliamentary election, not a presidential poll that traditionally has a greater participation.
Opinion polls before the first round had shown that in case Anastasiades and Malas were to contest the second round, Anastasiades would win by a margin of more than 12 percentage points.
Stavros Malas, a former minister of Health in the government of Dimitris Christofias, is supported by the Leftist party AKEL. Both AKEL and Malas have agreed if he is elected, not to use high rank cadres of the leftist party in his cabinet.
Anastasiades is supported by the right wing Democratic Rally (DISY).
Both candidates support a UN talks for a solution of the Cyprus problem, based on a bizonal bicommunal federation.
It’s is not clear what alliances could be forged for the second round, but based on the results, Anastasiades is favored to remain at the Presidential Palace.
AKEL General Secretary Andros Kyprianou, addressing the press at his party’s headquarters thanked “tens of thousands” of Akel voters and everyone else that voted for Akel backed independent candidate Stavros Malas,
“Today’s votes paved the way for a brighter future,” in the form of Malas who can bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem and improved economy with the average person and middle class in mind.
“Cyprus can change direction and move forward (with Malas),” that will clamp down on corruption.
EDEK President Marinos Sizopoulos, whose party had supported Diko leader and candidate Nicolas Papadopoulos said “Today the public decided. Their decision is respected. We would like to warmly thank those that supported Papadopoulos’ candidacy.”
He also thanked Edek’s staffers and volunteers.
“We submitted an alternative solution to Cyprus’ public as far as the Cyprus problem and economy are concerned…we want to reassure friends and voters that we continue efforts so ‘powers of change’ will continue.”
Chief of staff of Nicholas Papadopoulos, Chryssis Pantelides, in a message said:
“I thank the citizens that support Nicolas Papadopoulos. I thank the hundreds of volunteers and party staffers for the long and hard pre-election activity. The decision of the people is completely respected. I hope they never regret it.”