All is set for February’s presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus, according to the Ministry of Interior.
The main characteristic of these elections is the number of candidates, in addition to having two women presidential hopefuls.
A total of 11 people will contest the elections, including the main three candidates, President of the main opposition right wing party Democratic Rally (DISY) Nikos Anastasiades, who is backed by centre right Democratic Party DIKO, Stavros Malas, who will run having secured the backing of the ruling left wing party AKEL, and the independent candidate, former foreign minister, Giorgos Lillikas, who is backed by the socialist party EDEK.
Also running are former Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou, Geogrios Charalambous, Lakis Ioannou , Makaria Andri Stylianou, Andreas Efstratiou, Solon Gregoriou, Loukas Stavrou and Costas Kyriakou-Outopos.
If no candidate secures 50% plus on February 17, there will be a run off election on 24th of February.
According to the Chief Returning Officer, Andreas Assiotis, the final results will be known at around 20.30 local time (18.30 GMT).
At around 19.00 it will be clear whether one of the candidates has secured more than 50% of the votes.
The polls open at 7.00 and close at 18.00. In past elections, closing time was an hour earlier. There will be an hour break between 12 and 13.00.
A total of 545.180 people are eligible to vote in February’s elections, amongst them 604 Turkish Cypriots.
417 polling stations will operate in Nicosia district with the number of voters being 212.882, in Limassol 313 and 149.571 voters, in Larnaka 183 stations with 90.748 voters, in Paphos 132 with 47.782 voters and in Famagusta 54 stations with 29.770 voters.
Polling stations are going to be set up abroad as well, in 40 different locations. The majority of them are in Greece, where the voters will be able to cast their vote in Athens ( a total of 5 stations), in Volos (one), in Heraclion –Crete (one), in Thessaloniki (three) and in the cities of Ioannina, Komotini, Larissa, Patra, Rethymno-Crete and Rhodes (one station in each city). Cypriots who reside in the UK will also be able to vote at seven different polling stations to be set up at the Cyprus High Commission Premises and at the building of the Cyprus Community Center. Stations will also operate in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol as well as in Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Brussels, Manama, New York, Doha, Paris, Prague, Riyadh and Sofia.
A total of 14.427 Cypriots who work and reside abroad will be voting in the upcoming elections.
According to the Interior Ministry, the budget for February’s elections is 8 million euro. The ballot paper will be white and 575,000 ballot papers will be printed. The candidates will appear in alphabetical order of the party supporting them, or the name of the coalition of parties, or the last name of independent candidates.
Votes will be counted at the polling stations after they close. Two thousand unemployed graduates will be employed for the elections. Polling stations staffed by four persons will have two civil servants and two unemployed graduates, and those staffed by three persons will have two civil servants and one unemployed graduate. Those staffed by two persons will have only civil servants.
Presidential elections are held every five year in Cyprus. In the last elections which took place in February 2008, Demetris Christofias received 53,37% of the votes while Ioannis Kasoulides who was backed mainly by the Democratic Rally received 46,63%. Incumbent President Christofias, who is backed by AKEL, has announced that he will not seek re-election.
Every citizen over the age of 18 has the right to vote. The election of the President is direct, by universal suffrage and secret ballot.
The President’s term in office is for a period of five years starting from the date of his investiture before the House of Representatives. Candidates for election must be citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and over 35 years of age.
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