Independent presidential candidate Stavros Malas, who ran and lost for the second time on Sunday, congratulated his rival, incumbent Nicos Anastasiades and said although the result was disappointing, it was the will of the people and should be respected.
In his address after the runoff election was over, Malas thanked those who believed, supported and worked for his candidacy “from the bottom of his heart”.
He garnered 44.01 per cent of the votes, lagging behind Anastasiades who will now serve a second term after receiving 55.99 per cent of the votes.
“I appeal to all those who believed, supported and worked for my candidacy. All of those who worked to send the message to every corner of Cyprus, Europe and to those studying and working abroad. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“I will be grateful to you for the rest of my life for the love and trust you showed me.”
Malas congratulated Anastasiades twice in his speech for his re-election and wished him all the best in his work “for the benefit of the country and citizens.”
He also congratulated all candidates that ran in the first round, particularly Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos and Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas for their “contribution towards democratic debate.”
“I know the result disappointed you but we have to respect it.”
The fight was worth it, he added and will always be worth it.
The fight they have fought “doesn’t begin or end with the elections. The fight to reunify Cyprus, social justice, the rights of working people, vulnerable groups, women, youth. The fight for values of solidarity and progress, will continue.
“I want to hope and believe that our efforts have left something positive behind for Cyprus political life,” Malas added.
He expressed his hope that over the past few months, his campaign had managed to demonstrate that political dialogue or the conflict of ideas could be carried out differently.
“Without populism, without extremism, without arrogance,” but with the power of concrete proposals, mutual respect and honesty.
“Even now where I know the result, I insist that the honourable fight is the right way forward,” Malas told supporters at his headquarters.
It is only with the truth that voter abstention, which reached 26.1 per cent, could be fought, he added.
On a personal level, Malas said he would never stop being an active citizen “present in all battles for the rights of our country and people.”
Malas thanked Akel, which backed his candidacy, and the people of the party of which Malas was never a member but he said “I always honour and respect it’s history, fight and role.”
The candidate, who also ran in the 2013 presidential elections as an independent backed by Akel, also thanked his father and wife who were on either side of him, his mother who was watching over him, as well as his children who fought for him.
Malas served as health minister from 2011 to 2012 during former Akel President Demetris Christofias’ administration.