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Cyprus Presidential Elections: Record Number of Candidates Vie for Top Spot

Cyprus Presidential Elections
Cyprus goes to the polls next month to choose the successor of Nicos Anastasiades. Credit: Cyprus News Agency

A record number of candidates will compete in the 2023 presidential elections in Cyprus to be held on February 5th. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff will be held on February 12th.

Incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades of the Democratic Rally, who won the presidential elections in 2013 and 2018, is ineligible to run due to the two-term limit.

The official nomination procedure for presidential candidates took place on Thursday during which a record fourteen hopefuls threw their name in for the top position in the country.

This year’s elections will see the highest number of candidates to date in Cyprus with fourteen compared to the previous record of eleven in 2013. In the last presidential elections in 2018, the number of candidates up for the spot was nine.

There are three main candidates: ruling-DISY backed Averof Neophytou, AKEL-backed independent Andreas Mavroyiannis, and DIKO and EDEK-backed independent Nikos Christodoulides.

Also running for the position are independents Achilleas Demetriades, Yiorgos Kolokassides, and Constantinos Christofides.

Far-right ELAM leader Christos Christou is also on the ballot as are Andreas Efstratiou, Loucas Stavrou, Celestina De Petro, Andronikos Zervides, Alexios Savvides, Charalambos Aristotelous, and Julia Hovrina Komninos.

All leading candidates in the election have pledged to push for a resumption of peace talks in Cyprus which collapsed in 2017.

Cyprus’ former FM Christodoulides, the frontrunner in the presidential election race

Opinion polls show Nikos Christodoulides, a former foreign minister, is firmly in the lead. Barring a major upset, he will fall short of the 50 percent threshold in the first round on February 5th, leading to a runoff on February 12th.

“My candidacy seeks to unite the Cypriot people and not divide it,” Christodoulides, 49, told reporters after his nomination, pledging to form a broad-based administration if elected.

He pledged a modern administration program “that meets the expectations of society, which will bring about changes and reforms, improving the daily life of all the Cypriot people and giving perspective and hope to everyone.”

Christodoulides served in the right-wing administration of the DISY party until January 2022.

DISY is fielding its own candidate, Averof Neophytou, who is about ten points behind Christodoulides in polls. In statements to the media, Neofytou called on members of the public, regardless of political affiliation, to support his policies that are “beneficial” for the country.

Furthermore, he stressed that the country needs “competent leadership more than ever.” Neophytou also said that DISY has proven it can assume responsibilities, citing the management of the 2013 financial crisis as proof.

He is marginally ahead of Andreas Mavroyiannis, an independent backed by the left-wing AKEL party. Mavroyiannis announced that the reunification of Cyprus and an economy that produces prosperity for the whole of society rather than profits for the few are his main priorities.

Mavroyiannis said that what is needed is “leadership that serves the country and not its own interests, with honesty and integrity, with transparency and accountability, and punishment of those guilty of the dozens of scandals that have disgraced Cyprus.”

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