UPDATE – Cyprus presidential vote set for runoff, with Christodoulides in lead

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NICOSIA (Reuters) -Former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides edged into the lead inCyprus’s presidential election on Sunday, exit polls showed, but was unlikely to clinch an outright majority, leading to a runoff on Feb. 12.

Christodoulides, running as an independent, was seen taking between 30.5% and 33.5% of the vote, an exit poll for the state broadcaster showed, based on 76% of respondents counted. Voting ended at 1600 GMT. 

Averof Neophytou, leader of the ruling conservative DISY party, and independent leftist-backed candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis were neck-and-neck, with both between 26.5% and 29.5%. 

Private broadcasters showed broadly similar results, turning the vote into who will face off Christodoulides next week into a cliffhanger.

The two frontrunners from Sunday’s vote will now have a week to win over the remaining candidates and their voters excluded in Sunday’s voting. 

The winner of the poll will have to wrestle with how to break a deadlock in reunification talks on ethnically split Cyprus, as well as irregular migration, labour disputes and repairing the country’s image, tarnished by corruption scandals. All leading contenders are close associates of incumbent right-wing President Nicos Anastasiades, who is stepping down after this election.


NICOSIA, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Cyprus votes on Sunday for a new president in an election unlikely to produce a clear winner, setting the stage for a runoff on Feb. 12.

Heralding the end of two terms for incumbent conservative President Nicos Anastasiades, some 561,000 Greek Cypriots will be called to vote after a campaign dominated by corruption scandals, a deadlocked peace process, labour disputes over high inflation and irregular migration.

With 14 candidates in the running, Sunday’s poll will likely be a race between three frontrunners: former foreign minister Nikos Christodouldes, who is leading opinion polls, right-wing DISY party leader Averof Neophytou, and career diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis backed by the leftist AKEL party.

Polling stations will open at 0500 GMT and close at 1600 GMT, with the result expected within two hours of stations closing.

Opinion polls suggest none of the frontrunners will muster an outright majority, leading to a runoff. All three main contenders have been close associates of Anastasiades, who cannot contest a third five-year term.

Fiona Mullen, director of Sapienta Economics, said there was a perception that irrespective of who wins there would be a continuation of Anastasiades’s policies.

“I think that is probably least in the case of Mavroyiannis, more in the case of Christodoulides,” she said. “On foreign policy I think Christodoulides is going to be closer to how Anastasiades has been in his final years,” she added, calling that policy “more assertive”.

In 2020, while Christodoulides was foreign minister, Cyprus held out on EU sanctions against Belarus for about a month because it wanted more action from Europe against Turkey.

Cyprus has complied with all EU sanctions against Russia, a close ally, following the war in Ukraine.

Polling station officials take a delivery of ballot boxes for the upcoming Cypriot presidential elections in Nicosia, Cyprus. Cyprus is to hold presidential elections on 05 February, followed by runoff elections on 12 February between the two biggest vote winners if the first round does not produce a winner with an outright majority of over 50 percent. EPA-EFE/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

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