Incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday said the election results were a strong signal of approval from voters for what his government has built over the past five years.
“All Cypriot citizens have been part of this and I would like to appeal to those who voted for me, those who made other decisions and even those who abstained,” he said from the presidential palace following the results of the election that takes him to the second round on February 4.
“Next Sunday is critical – it will determine whether it will proceed with stability towards the future for us and our children,” said Anastasiades who will come up against Akel-backed independent candidate Stavros Malas who came in a second in Sunday’s first round with more votes than expected from the polls.
“The choice was never more simple,” said Anastasiades. “Either we choose potential for tomorrow or a move that has caused bankruptcy,” he added, referring to the near-collapse of the economy under the previous Akel government of Demetris Christofias, in which Malas spent some time as a minister.
“We will either move forward or go back towards insecurity that marred the previous government,” the incumbent said. “This is not the time to experiment. We will continue with conscientious policy for our energy plans. Our country is a member of the EU’s and has strong relations with neighbouring states. In the past five years, together we rescued Cyprus from bankruptcy.”
Anastasiades said he never considered the other candidates as rivals and was ready for cooperation with other parties and the losing candidates. “You need a majority in parliament to vote bills into law,” he said. “The priority is the good of the country.”
He congratulated the other candidates for the campaigns they ran and thanked those who worked on his own team.
“Next Sunday, we are called to decide on a path of stability,” which, he added, attracts investments and creates jobs.
He also said that a solution to the Cyprus problem should abolish guarantees, occupation and security forces. Anastasiades presided over the last round of Cyprus talks, which ended in failure at Crans-Montana in Switzerland last July. He believes he is the only one that can resurrect the negotiations from where they left off.
After speaking at the palace, Anastasiades went to his campaign office, arriving to loud cheers from his supporters.
“I am here to express my gratitude for everything you have done, which resulted in the public sending us astrong command to continue next Sunday, the path which we began in 2013,” he said.
“We have ensured economic recovery, ensured a modernised state, brought about steady development and a state that is respected by its neighbours playing a significant role not just in region and EU but is significant because it exercises its energy rights…without problems.”
He said he was certain the public would embrace “everything we aim for through unity”.
“I want to repeat that they way we have operated for the past five years, is how we will continue for the next five years if the public honours us with their votes. The next days after elections are days of hard work – for us and for you.”
Referring to the abstention rate of 28 per cent, Anastasiades said: “Too many words mean nothing. As of tomorrow morning, we have work to do. We have to expand our allegiances,” he said.