by Aggelos Skordas
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades won re-election for a second five-year term seeing off leftist-backed challenger Stavros Malas on Sunday. The 71-year-old incumbent comfortably secured 56 percent (215,281 votes), while Malas, backed by Communist party AKEL, secured 44 percent (169,243 votes), in results similar to those of 2013 when Anastasiades, formerly leader of the conservative Democratic Rally (DISY) party, succeeded his first presidential election with 57.4 percent against 42.6 percent of Malas. Final official turnout stood at 73% while Anastasiades was congratulated by all Cypriot parties, heads of states and international bodies.
Addressing the public minutes after the results announcement at the “Tassos Papadopoulos – Eleftheria” stadium of Nicosia, Anastasiades thanked the people who have taken part in the process, saying he is “moved, proud and grateful for the trust the people of Cyprus” have showed him. “My priority is to tackle the occupation of our country but without ignoring the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriots”, he highlighted. Furthermore, Anastasiades declared he will continue to act as the President of all Cypriots. As he said, the elections mark the beginning of a new era, noting that the people of Cyprus ask for cooperation and unity as this is the only way to “address problems and challenges”. He assured that he is determined to cooperate with everyone.
Victorious Anastasiades is now aiming on the formation of a widely accepted coalition government. His previous cabinet, sworn in on February 2013, initially consisted of 13 ministers from Anastasiades’ DISY party, DIKO, EVROKO and independent statesmen. Moreover, the triumphant President is facing a historical challenge as he appears determined to intensify the efforts over a viable and fair solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem. “My priority is to tackle the occupation of our country but without ignoring the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriots”, he declared before his supporters following his electoral win.
On his behalf, defeated Malas called on the re-elected leader “to take care of Cyprus”, wishing him well in his duties and thanked those who supported his candidacy, adding that the people’s verdict is completely respected.
Among others, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, congratulated Anastasiades and said: “I would also like to take this opportunity to assure you that I stand ready as ever to assist in the efforts to bring to an end the division of the island and achieve the reunification of Cyprus.” Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras and numerous foreign leaders have also expressed their congratulations.