Former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides edged into the lead in Cyprus’s presidential election on Sunday, according to the results on the 95 percent of the votes cast, but was unlikely to clinch an outright majority, leading to a runoff on Feb. 12.
Christodoulides, running as an independent, is on 31.9 percent, followed by independent leftist-backed candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis on 29.6 percent. Averof Neophytou, leader of the ruling conservative DISY party, is on 26.1 percent.
Reports say that Neophytou has congratulated Mavroyiannis and Christodoulides who will be fighting for the runoff for the presidency in Cyprus.
Christodoulides’ fans at his offices are cheering on as results give him a lead over the other candidates.
Mavroyiannis’ camp is jovial, with chanting and cheering. “The word of the people has been clear,” he Mavroyiannis said. “In the efforts we began together, there is no one excluded. Faith in a solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bizonal bicommunal federation puts us in one group. It allows us to overcome all differences,” he added.
Election run-off contestants have close ties with the former president of Cyprus
Both contestants for the presidency have ties to former President Nicos Anastasiades.
Christodoulides left his role as the minister of foreign affairs to run as an independent backed by centrist parties.
The main opposition party, the leftist Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), is backing Andreas Mavroyiannis, a diplomat running as an independent.
Mavroyiannis presents himself as an agent of change, although he served as Anastasiades’s main negotiator in the Cyprus peace talks from 2013 until he announced his candidacy last year.
The two frontrunners from Sunday’s vote will now have a week to win over the remaining candidates and their voters excluded in Sunday’s voting.
This is a developing story
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