Sunday

25th Jul 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Schinas spars with MEPs over migration job title

A number of MEPs pressed Margaritis Schinas to drop the "Protecting the European Way of Life" title of his portfolio, which deals with migration. But Schinas refused, claiming it needs protecting from terrorists and populists. He failed to convince.

News in Brief

  1. Macron changes phone after Pegasus spyware revelations
  2. Italy to impose 'vaccinated-only' entry on indoor entertainment
  3. EU 'will not renegotiate' Irish protocol
  4. Brussels migrants end hunger strike
  5. Elderly EU nationals in UK-status limbo after missed deadline
  6. WHO: 11bn doses needed to reach global vaccination target
  7. EU to share 200m Covid vaccine doses by end of 2021
  8. Spain ends outdoor mask-wearing despite surge

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Far left and right MEPs less critical of China and Russia
  2. Why is offshore wind the 'Cinderella' of EU climate policy?
  3. Open letter from 30 embassies ahead of Budapest Pride
  4. Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law
  5. Why aren't EU's CSDP missions working?
  6. Romania most keen to join eurozone
  7. Slovenia risks court over EU anti-graft office
  8. Sweden's gang and gun violence sets politicians bickering

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us