Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos and Andreas Mavroyiannis, who has received senior Akel backing, held discussions on potential cooperation ahead of the February 2023 presidential elections but both kept their cards close to their chest.

The key message was that of figuring out where and if cooperation may be possible between the two, with both emphasising that they are keeping the doors open.

The stage is already taking shape as Disy’s leader Averof Neophytou will be the ruling party’s candidate, while Disy rival and former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides recently announced his bid, presenting himself as an independent candidate.

That was a message echoed by Mavroyiannis, who despite being just inches away from Akel’s full support has argued he is independent.

Asked whether the main opposition’s support strips away Mavroyiannis’ status as an independent, he replied that: “It’s the opposite, I believe that it further secures my independence,” further adding that the need for party backing is simply a reality in Cypriot politics.

For his part, Sizopoulos reiterated that cooperation with Diko remains a priority but that it doesn’t rule out discussions with other players.

Elsewhere, top Diko officials have said that there is interest within some party ranks to support Christodoulides.

Mainstream party support has dwindled over the past decade, with ruling Disy shedding close to 40,000 votes in the most recent parliamentary elections – although it remained the largest party.

Akel has fared even worse in recent years, as they lost about 50,000 in last year’s elections. Edek and Diko also saw significant losses.