Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

Cyprus' deja-vu choice for president

  • Incumbent president Anastasiades presents himself as a guarantee of stability (Photo: Anastasiades/Facebook)

Greek Cypriots will elect their president on Sunday (4 February), facing the same choice as at the previous vote five years ago.

Incumbent president Nikos Anastasiades, from the centre-right Democratic Rally (Disy) is seen as the favourite to win a second term against Stavros Malas, an independent candidate who is backed by the Communist Progressive Party of Working People (Akel).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The challenger Malas says Anastasiades missed an historic chance for peace with the Turkish Cypriots (Photo: Malas/Facebook)

The right against left run-off is as much about the economy as about the future of peace talks with the northern part of the island.

In a TV debate on Wednesday, Malas criticised Anastasiades' handling of the economy, both under an international bailout from 2013 to 2016, and since the end of the programme.

He said Anastasiades worsened conditions for the lower and middle classes and imposed "mediaeval conditions in the labour market".

Anastasiades presented itself as a guarantee for economic stability, with a 3.5-percent growth forecasted for this year and rising employment.

"This is not the time to experiment," he said after the first round last Sunday (28 January).

"Either we choose potential for tomorrow or a move that has caused bankruptcy," he said, referring to the Akel government that was in place when the financial crisis started, that led to the bailout.

The two candidates also quarrelled over the peace process with the Turkish Cypriots, after an UN-led effort failed last year.

During the campaign, Malas has argued that Anastasiades missed an historic opportunity to reach an agreement with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. He has said that if he was elected, he would launch a new round of negotiations.

Anastasiades, who has blamed Turkey for refusing to leave the 35,000 soldiers it maintains in northern Cyprus since 1974, has argued that he was the best-placed to resume the talks but has not said if he would do it differently.

"Unless there is a change of approach, more broadly, by the Greek Cypriots, it doesn't matter who comes to power," Amanda Paul, from the EPC think tank, told EUobserver before the first round of voting.

"The same things would happen. Talks and talks and talks, and then nothing."

The runoff in the southern part of the island comes as a government is being formed in the northern part, almost a month after elections early January.

The vote was won by the National Unity Party (UBP), which is critical over the peace process. But this week, four parties agreed to form a coalition led by Tufan Erhurman, from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) of the entity's leader Akinci.

EU to pump €101m into Cyprus gas network

The EU also agreed on financing a study into the Southern Gas Corridor, to send a signal that the EU is still invested in the project - but leaves questions over renewable energy sources.

Cyprus talks up in the air

A week after the failure of negotiations to reunite the islands, Greek Cypriots are calling on Turkish Cypriots to reaffirm their commitment to the process.

News in Brief

  1. May U-turn on fee for EU nationals in UK
  2. French data watchdog gives Google €50m fine
  3. EU hits Russians with sanctions over Salisbury attack
  4. 'Don't look for answers to Brussels', EU tells UK
  5. Germany warns UK not to 'misuse' EU patience on Brexit
  6. Germany sent 8,658 asylum-seekers to other EU states
  7. Poll: Macron popularity up four percent
  8. 'Economy is broken' says Oxfam in global inequality report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Turkish NBA star takes on Erdogan
  2. 'Meme ban' still on table in EU copyright bill, says MEP
  3. Brexit power grab by MPs hangs over May's 'Plan B'
  4. Polish mayor's funeral marred by Tusk TV dispute
  5. Salvini and Kaczynski - the new 'axis' powers?
  6. Seven member states miss climate plan deadline
  7. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  8. Germany led way on EU rights protection

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us