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Cyprus

Contenders line up for Vergas’ mayoral seat

By Constantinos Psillides

CANDIDATES for the Paphos mayoral elections will be flocking to the town’s district offices today to submit their bid, surrounded by their friends and supporters.

The election was announced by Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos following the resignation of former mayor Savvas Vergas who is facing charges in a number of scandals. The election is set for January 11.

A total of 10 candidates have already publicly expressed interest in claiming the top spot.

The favourite –based on party strength and not a poll- is Aristos Vassiliades, a chartered accountant with a degree in economics from the London School of Economics, who is supported by AKEL, DIKO and EDEK. Vassiliades, whose name was suggested by the DIKO district committee, is the son of Nicos Vassiliades, an MP with DIKO from 1976 to 1981 and a long-time accountant for the Paphos bishopric.

Phedonas Phedonos, a municipal councillor with ruling party DISY appears to be the second favourite. Phedonos is only backed by his party but made his name known when he allegedly received a threat from Vergas, after taking part in exposing a shady deal the former mayor allegedly made with Aristo Developers.

The Citizens’ Alliance went ahead with their own candidate, supporting party member Doros Paphitis. Paphitis holds a doctorate on Oceanography from the Southampton University.
The Greens’ are also supporting one of their own; Andreas Masouras, a lecturer on Communication and Politics in Media at the Neapolis university in Paphos.

Phedonos is not the only municipal councillor gunning for the mayor’s seat. Andreas Chrysanthou, a municipal councillor from EVROKO, also expressed his wish to enter the race, claiming that was doing so as an independent candidate.

Other independent candidates are Sofia Hampiaouridou, a former model and journalist based in Paphos, the architect Vaggelis Mavronikolas –who announced a 49-point plan to help bring the town back to its feet- and the always present for an election showdown, Andreas Efstratiou. Efstratiou is a staple in all elections, be it presidential, parliamentary, municipal or Euroelections. A bridal wear store owner, Efstratiou used to hold the Guinness Book of World Records entry for creating the longest wedding gown train at 1,362 metres in 2007, a distinction he lost to Lichel van den Ende from Holland (2,488-metres).

Well-known actor Chrysanthos Chrysanthos is the latest addition to the list of candidates. The actor issued a statement yesterday announcing his candidacy and he is backed by the United Fighters of Pafos ’55-’59 and ’63-’64.

According to data released by election commissioner Yiannakis Mallourides, a total of 18,203 people have the right to vote in the election.

Around 12 per cent of the voters are not native Cypriots. The election will commence at 7am on January 11 and wrap up at 6pm with a one-hour break at noon.

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