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Barbs traded over who has president’s support

debate

Disy leader Averof Neophytou and former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides clashed over who has the most support from President Nicos Anastasiades in the coming presidential elections during a live TV debate late on Thursday.

The discussion, which also included former negotiator on the Cyprus problem Andreas Mavroyiannis, was hosted at Omega’s studio and broadcast by other private TV stations.

Although lasting over two hours, the debate showed no clear winner among the three main presidential candidates and former associates of the president.

Neophytou and Christodoulides did not hesitate to attack each other at every opportunity, mainly over who has the most support from Anastasiades. The former claimed that Anastasiades prepared a written statement as a mediating attempt to prevent the possibility of two Disy nominations. However this was rejected by Christodoulides, who suggested the president never prepared such a document.

After accusing the former foreign minister of lying, Neophytou repeated ironically “he will be tomorrow’s leader of Cyprus”.

He added that if Christodoulides is voted president he will be “the government” but if not, he will be “opposition”. The country needs stability and security, Neophytou said, noting that there are difficult times ahead for the Cyprus problem and the economy.

Both Neophytou and Christodoulides showed a readiness to grant access to their bank data and their family’s bank data.

Meanwhile, Mavroyiannis referred to the other two as “Disy candidates” who are “squabbling over the fate of the president”, and stressed the need for qualitative change.

Another three debates are expected on December 1, and next year on January 11 and February 3, two days before the election. On February 9, a further debate is scheduled between the two candidates if the vote goes to a second round. They will be broadcast by Omega, Alpha, Ant1 and Sigma.

State broadcaster CyBC will broadcast two televised debates on February 1 and 10.

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