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Election service investigating illegal poll text

The election service said Saturday it was investigating a text message sent to people on Friday evening and early in the morning claiming to be the results of a poll, in violation of the law.

The text, whose contents cannot be published, suggested that one of the outsiders in Sunday’s presidential election would go on to a runoff vote on February 4.

The law bans the publication of polls one week before the elections.

Deputy returns officer Demetris Demetriou said there had been complaints, which will be investigated.’

“We are looking into it. When we have information on where it was sent from we will see how to handle it,” he said.

One of the recipients told the Cyprus Mail that he was at a place in Nicosia on Friday night where a lot of people had received the text. Some got it at around 10pm while others after midnight, he said.

The campaign officially ended on Friday at midnight and candidates are not allowed to issue any messages after that though there were such incidents on social media on Saturday.

There are nine candidates in the election, incumbent Nicos Anastasiades, Akel-backed Stavros Malas, Diko chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos, Citizens’ Alliance chairman Giorgos Lillikas, far right Elam leader Christos Christou, Michalis Mina, Christakis Kapiliotis, Andreas Efstratiou, and Charis Aristidou.

A mission from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will be monitoring the elections.

The last time an OSCE delegation was in Cyprus was in 2011 during the parliamentary elections. In the past, the organization had conducted fact-finding missions before the elections, without sending a team on the day.

“This time they decided to look into some of the new chapters in our legislation, particularly the chapter pertaining to campaign financing,” the deputy returning officer said.

Some 550,000 people are eligible to vote in Sunday’s election in 1,122 polling stations in Cyprus and abroad.

Polling stations have been set in in 15 countries to accommodate overseas votes numbering 11,683.

Around a thousand unemployed graduates will work at the polling stations. On the day of the election, more than seven thousand civil servants and police officers will be working.

Mobiles are prohibited at the polling stations and ballot papers should be clearly marked with ‘+’,’ Χ’ or ‘√’ in the designated spot.

Voting times are 7am and 6pm, with a one-hour break at 12pm.

A runoff vote or second round will take place on February 4 if no candidate manages to garner than 50 per cent of the valid votes.

Further information about where to vote is at wtv.elections.moi.gov.cy/english or on 7777 2212.

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