The head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus has thrown his support behind the leading opposition leader who is challenging the outgoing communist administration’s favourite in Sunday’s second round of presidential elections.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II endorsed the candidacy of Democratic Rally leader, Nicos Anastasiades, saying that the country needs a strong government.
“We will offer our support to the new government and Mr. Anastasiades,” the Primate of the Church of Cyprus said, and wished him every success for the benefit of the country and its people.
The Archbishop said that the Church was obliged to take a position as half of the country’s territory is under Turkish occupation and Cyprus faces serious economic problems.
On his part, Anastasiades expressed his satisfaction with the Archbishop’s support to its candidacy, noting that there is a European secular state in Cyprus, however one must not ignore the historic contribution of the Church.
The presidential elections will go to a second round on Sunday, February 24, after Nicos Anastasiades fell short of the 50%-plus-one vote needed for an outright majority. He secured 45.5% of the vote, while his rival, communist AKEL-backed Stavros Malas got 26.9%.
Yiorgos Lillikas, who was supported by socialist EDEK party and a splinter group from the centre-right Democratic Party (Diko) and nationalist European Party (Evroko), failed to make it to the second round. He secured 24.9% of the vote and is expected to announce the creation of a new centrist party within the next few months. (see related story - CYPRUS: Will Lillikas head new centre party? http://www.financialmirror.com/research-details.php?rid=28909&rt=News )
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