For the first time in decades, the state of the Cyprus economy has overshadowed any election campaign pledges to solve the island’s long-standing division, with voters and presidential candidates being much more focused on the problem of how to save the country from bankruptcy than reunite the island.
Over 545,000 registered voters will have the right to cast their vote today for one of the 11 candidates, two of which are women, in 1,139 polling stations spread out across the country and abroad.
Those stations will be opened from 7am and close at noon for a one-hour lunch break, re-opening at 1pm and closing at 6pm.
Preliminary results will be available by 6.30pm, and the final results by 8.30pm. By 6.30pm, the Cypriot people will know if any of the candidates secured over half the votes, removing the need for a runoff election the following Sunday.
The main theme of the election campaign was the economic crisis, and Cyprus’ empty state coffers.
Having sought help from EU in the form of bailout last June, the government has been told by Brussels that no decision on whether to lend Cyprus some €17.5 billion will be taken until the new president has been elected. As a frontrunner in the election race is considered to be the DISY’s 66-year-old Nicos Anastasiades, whose campaign team has been pushing somewhat optimistically for a first round victory.
The leader called on the voters to provide him with a strong mandate so he could get started straight away on tackling the island’s debt issues and deepening problems. In relation to the Cypriot divisional problem, Anastasiades wants to see a loose federation take hold in a reunified Cyprus, whereas the left wing party supports a federal solution to the Cyprus problem with a strong central government.
The three main candidates on this elections are Anastasiades, Malas and Lillikas. The eight remaining candidates are former commerce minister and United Democrats leader Praxoula Antoniadou-Kyriacou, primary school deputy head Makaria Antri Stylianou, head of the Citizen’s Rights Bureau of the Popular Socialist Movement LASOK Lakis Ioannou, Costas Kyriacou (aka Outopos), far-right ELAM candidate Georgios Charalambous, Andreas Efstratiou, Solon Gregoriou and Loucas Stavrou.