Constantinos Christofides, former rector of the University of Cyprus and general coordinator of New Wave – the Other Cyprus, will officially announce his candidacy for the 2023 presidential elections at an event to be held in Nicosia on Sunday that will discuss the movement’s vision for Cyprus.
This brings the line-up of candidates for the ’23 elections now to eight individuals with the main contenders being Nikos Christodoulides – running as an independent, Disy president Averof Neophytou and former senior diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis, who is backed by opposition Akel.
Observers note that the candidacy of both Neophytou and Christodoulides – a former foreign minister who says he remains a Disy member but nevertheless chose to contest the presidency from outside the party process, threatens to split the island’s biggest party.
As the official Disy candidate Neophytou can rely on the party machine and the public support of President Nicos Anastasiades, but Christodoulides appears to enjoy strong support from Disy’s party base and from a broader spectrum of voters.
The former foreign minister is ahead of other candidates in recent polls recording a 43 per cent share of the public’s vote in the first round against Neophytou’s 22.09 per cent and Mavroyiannis’ 16.28 per cent.
In the second round, polls also indicate a strong outcome for Christodoulides, recording a 64.47 per cent share against Neophytou’s 35.53 per cent and 70.37 per cent against Mavroyiannis.
Mavroyiannis, former Cyprus talks negotiator for the Greek Cypriot side, has yet to formally announce, but has said that he would throw his hat into the ring if his candidacy secures backing. Akel’s central committee has already voted in his favour and his name is now being discussed by the party base where it is reported to enjoy strong approval.
Akel is due to finalise the decision at the party’s pancyprian conference on June 5 and Mavroyiannis is expected to officially announce his bid for presidency thereafter.
At the same time, Mavroyiannis has held discussions with Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos exploring possible support for his candidacy but have not agreed on anything, for now at least.
Moreover, he is expected to meet with other political actors in the coming days including Diko’s leader Nicholas Papadopoulos, Dipa’s president Marios Garoyian and delegates from the Greens.
Diko, Dipa, Edek and the Greens have still to pick a candidate.
Independent candidates include Achilleas Demetriades, Giorgos Colocassides, Marios Eliades and Christodoulos Protopapas.