The three main candidates for the presidency sparred in their second televised debate on Thursday evening, where they sought to establish their bona fides as capable leaders on both domestic and foreign policy.
Disy’s Averof Neophytou, Akel’s Andreas Mavroyiannis, and ‘independent’ candidate Nikos Christodoulides were grilled by four journalists from the Sigma, Omega, Ant1 and Alpha television networks.
Broadcast live on all the television channels, the debate got underway shortly after 9pm.
The contenders fielded questions on the Cyprus problem and the way forward, as well as on the economy.
Inevitably, the matter of the ‘secret deal’ between Christodoulides and the Diko party – revealed in an alleged leaked memo – came up.
The candidates were also asked whether they – like President Nicos Anastasiades – would use a private jet for their travels.
Waiting for the three candidates outside the venue were about 100 members of Sykala – the association of depositors with now-defunct Laiki Bank whose savings got wiped out in the 2013 bail-in.
Police were keeping an eye on the protesters, but no trouble or tensions were reported. The protesters approached each of the presidential candidates as they arrived, speaking to them briefly. They departed shortly later.
A third debate is scheduled for early January.
Christodoulides has consistently led in opinion polls, and by a wide margin. In the latest survey published earlier this month, he garnered 30.5 per cent, trailed by Neophytou at 20.5 percent and Akel candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis at 17.5 per cent.
The presidential elections will take place on February 5, 2023. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff will be held a week later.