Votes for incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades and Akel-backed Stavros Malas, and the rejection of Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, are being widely seen as majority Greek Cypriot support for a Cyprus settlement following the first round of voting in the presidential elections.
Tweets out of the north on Sunday immediately after the vote count was in clearly indicated that Turkish Cypriots were happy with the fact that the pro-solution candidates were going through to the next round.
Many pro-solution Greek Cypriots have become disillusioned with Anastasiades after the collapse of the talks at Crans-Montana in Switzerland last July and this was reflected in the vote with only a five-point gap between the two main contenders. Malas and Akel are seen as even more in favour of rapprochement and have criticised Anastasiades for the demise of the talks.
The left-wing candidate made a point of reaching out to Turkish Cypriots during his post-election speech on Sunday night saying: “It doesn’t just require political strength but public participation. Cyprus deserves something much better.”
Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said on Monday said his party has followed a clear line on the Cyprus issue for years “and we follow it consistently”.
“I think we have an attitude which I would say is accepted by a large portion of the people of Cyprus,” he added. “Now is the time to show how consistent we are when it comes to this goal and how reliable we are.”
The bi-communal group Unite Cyprus Now also issued a statement of support to the two candidates. “We are reassured that two-thirds of voters on Sunday chose candidates who openly support a federal settlement for our island,” the group said, adding that they stood ready to assist the winning candidate “to ensure broad support among all Cypriots to unite our island”.
“Global and regional developments make a settlement of the Cyprus problem more urgent than ever before. Let us not hold our future hostage to our past. Our children deserve a better future,” it added.
The widely held view that the choices were positive for a Cyprus settlement were reflected in the Turkish Cypriot press on Monday.
Daily Kibris newspaper drew attention to the fact that “the candidate of the rejectionist front” Nicolas Papadopoulos, who drew attention with his “fanatic and racist statements”, had received only 25 per cent of the vote.
Afrika said Greek Cypriots had not permitted the “chauvinists” to pass to the second round. The paper also argued that Anastasiades did not receive the number of votes he was expecting “and thus his election in the second round is not guaranteed”.
Yeni Duzen ran its report under the headline: “The federal Cyprus front exceeded 65 per cent in the elections”.
“The trend is for a solution,” analyst Christoforos Christoforou was quoted by CNA as saying. “But we cannot predict that this will mean that a final agreement will actually be achieved.”
One of the key factors that could damage both candidates when it comes to pro-solution voters would be seeking a partnership with the hard-line election losers, which in this case is every other political party that participated in the election.