With 100% of the votes counted, the Cypriot presidential election is heading to a run-off on Sunday, February 12th. Former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides, who garnered the most votes in the first round but failed to surpass the 50% threshold needed to win the race outright, will face off against the left-wing candidate, career diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis.
Per the most recent exit polls, Christodoulides, who ran as an independent, placed first, collecting nearly a third (32%) of the national vote. Andreas Mavroyiannis, backed by the communist-rooted Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), had an unexpectedly strong showing with 29.6%, while Averof Neophytou, the leader of the ruling center-rRight DISY party, came in third, garnering 26.1%, despite opinion polls leading up to the election placing him in second.
At his election headquarters, Christodoulides addressed his jubilant supporters, saying that at the beginning of the week, he would reach out to Neophytou for a meeting in order to secure the center-rRight vote.
“As of tomorrow, our door is open for all those who share our concern for tomorrow, for our children,” Christodoulides said.
Mavroyiannis, for his part, and like Christodoulides, emphasized a message of unity, telling his supporters that he planned to reach out to like-minded political candidates in order to secure the votes of their supporters in next week’s run-off election.
“Our love for our country strikes down any lines of division and unites us,” Mavroyiannis proclaimed, adding: “Our focus on the goal for a healthy, robust economy and our concern for our citizens supersedes our differences.”
Neophytou, while speaking to supporters at his campaign headquarters, said that he had congratulated both Christodoulides and Mavroyiannis on their electoral successes. At the same time, however, he refrained from saying which candidate he would throw his support behind in the run-off.
“We waged a tough battle under the most adverse political conditions,” Neophytou told his voters. “It wasn’t enough.”
Sunday’s election saw a record number of candidates compete, at fourteen in total. Roughly 560,000 Greek Cypriots were eligible to vote in Sunday’s presidential election, and roughly 400,000 turned up at polling stations to cast their ballots.
It’s worth noting that Sunday’s voting took place on the Greek Cypriot portion of the island. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island’s northern third, backing Turkish Cypriots, in response to a coup orchestrated by the junta in power in Athens at the time which sought to unite the island with Greece.