Cyprus heads to polls to pick new president with runoff expected

cache 980x637 Crop medium 590123 513455 23 02 05 070042

Cyprus votes on Sunday in a close presidential election between three front runners, with the electorate, focused more on corruption and the economy than the island's long-standing division.

A record 14 candidates -- but only two women -- are standing, with the winner needing 50 per cent plus one vote to succeed two-term President Nicos Anastasiades.

Opinion polls predict a run-off on February 12, with no contender expected to secure an immediate outright majority.

Former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides is the favourite. Backed by centrist parties, the 49-year-old commands a firm lead but not enough to shake off his rivals.

He is likely to face off in the second round against either Andreas Mavroyiannis, a 66-year-old technocrat backed by communist party AKEL, or Averof Neofytou, 61, leader of the ruling conservatives, DISY.

The last opinion poll by state broadcaster CyBC on January 27 had Christodoulides leading at 26.5 percent, Neofytou at 22.5 percent and Mavroyiannis 21 percent.

Many analysts believe that Christodoulides, who served in both Anastasiades administrations, is still the favourite.

"All polls indicate that Christodoulides is going to the second round. I would be very much surprised if he didn't reach it," said Andreas Theophanous of the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024