Cyprus will go to the polls again in a week’s time after Sunday’s elections did not declare an outright winner, with the candidates of the two main and ideologically opposite parties vying for votes from the middle space and solutions to a multi-billion euro bailout.
Nicos Anastassiades, leader of the opposition Democratic Rally party (Disy), a member of the European Popular Party (EPP), garnered 45.5% of the votes, supported by the centre-right Democratic Party (Diko) and the nationalist European Party (Evroko), basing his campaign on a national unity government that will help resolve the country’s economic crisis and high unemployment.
The result is a far cry from all the exit polls that indicated a narrow first-round victory for the Disy leader who was projected to win 51.5% of the votes.
The electoral system calls for the winner to secure a “50%-plus-one” vote from among the 454,000 people who went to the polls, as opposed to a “first-past-the-post”, which means that Anastassiades will face communist candidate Stavros Malas, who secured 26.9% of the vote.
The communist Akel party, whose outgoing administration headed by president Demetris Christofias is considered to have failed in its economic policy, has already appealed to third-placed Yiorgos Lillikas, who secured 24.9% of the votes supported by the smaller socialist Edek party, as well as a splinter group from the centre-right Diko.
However, election and political analysts expect an unholy alliance between Malas and the Lillikas campaign, making an Anastassiades victory in the second round as an uphill battle, while some even suggest that Lillikas will seek to establish a new centrist party drawing his support from both Diko and the socialist Edek.
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