Cypriots vote in presidential elections


Cyprus commenced voting for a new president in an election on Sunday. Opinion polls indicate that the election is unlikely to produce a clear winner, setting the stage for a runoff on February 12.

With 14 candidates in the race, opinion polls seem to favor three frontrunners: former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides, right-wing DISY party leader Averof Neophytou, and career diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis backed by the leftist AKEL party.

All three main contenders have been close associates of incumbent conservative President Nicos Anastasiades, who by law cannot contest a third five-year term.

Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT and will close at 1600 GMT. Weather forecasters said there would be heavy rain and storms on Sunday, which could affect voter turnout. 561,000 Greek Cypriots are eligible to vote.

The campaign was dominated by issues such as corruption, a deadlocked peace process with estranged Turkish Cypriots, labor disputes related to accelerating inflation, and irregular migration.

No clear victor but a strait way forward

Opinion polls indicate none of the frontrunners will muster an outright majority, leading to a runoff. However, there is a perception that irrespective of who wins, there would be a continuation of Anastasiades’ policies, said Fiona Mullen, director of Sapienta Economics.

Cyprus has complied with all sanctions against Belarus and Russia, a close ally, following the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.