In the EU island republic of Cyprus, around 561,000 eligible voters will elect a new president. Whoever wins the vote on the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus faces enormous challenges. He has to get an economic crisis, corruption scandals and migration problems under control and also bring momentum back into a peace process that has slipped away. The successor to 76-year-old Nicos Anastasiades will be elected by the conservative governing party. In Cyprus, the President is both the head of state and the head of government.
Three candidates stand out
The most promising candidates are a former foreign minister, a technocrat and a conservative party leader. All three are considered convinced Europeans and support the Western sanctions against Russia as a result of the Ukraine war. Former Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulidis is the favourite. The former chief diplomat could therefore get more than 30 percent of the votes in the first round.
According to polls, two other candidates – the diplomat Andreas Mavrogiannis, who is supported by the left-wing party AKEL, and the representative of the conservative party (DISY), Averof Neofytou – will be in a neck-and-neck race with around 20 percent each for entry into the runoff election .
Cyprus has been a member of the EU since 2004
Elections are only held in the southern part of the island, the Turkish-Cypriot north does not take part in the polls. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 after a Greek coup and Turkish military intervention. Numerous attempts at mediation by the United Nations to overcome the division have so far failed. Cyprus has been a member of the EU since 2004. EU law and regulations apply only to the Greek Cypriot south of the island.
nob/kle (afp, dpa)