Achilleas Demetriades, the independent presidential candidate who was knocked out in the first round, announced on Thursday that he backs Andreas Mavroyiannis ahead of Sunday’s elections.

“Certainly there are differences [with Mavroyiannis] and these remain, but the fact is that on Sunday we have to vote for one of the two candidates, and everyone should vote; of course people can abstain and that is respected, but then someone else will be speaking on your behalf,” Demetriades said.

The independent secured 2.05 per cent – or 8,137 votes – in the first round, which would be a welcome shot in the arm on Sunday for Akel-backed Mavroyiannis. It does not mean, however, that all those who backed Demetriades will transfer their vote to Mavroyiannis.

Outlining his reasons for backing Mavroyiannis, Demetriades summed it up as saying: “It doesn’t mean that I agree with all of his positions, but the people have decided that we must choose between these two candidates on Sunday.”

His main concern is the Cyprus problem, warning that “we’re sleepwalking towards partition”.

Asked if he expects to play a role in the event of a Mavroyiannis government and whether he has he been offered a position in the negotiating team, Demetriades clarified that he would like to help but that matter was not discussed.

He emphasised that their talk did not involve any promises such as being given a ministry in exchange for Demetriades’ support.

“Whomever is elected, and I personally hope that it is Mavroyiannis, I would like to make myself available – not to be made minister or some other exchange – but to help,” he said.

The human rights lawyer stated that his main concerns going into the second round are the Cyprus problem, combating corruption and the creation of a just state – matters he discussed with Mavroyiannis.

Demetriades had met both with Mavroyiannis and Nikos Christodoulides earlier in the week.

Earlier in the campaign, Demetriades seemingly came close to being backed by Akel, after the party had narrowed down the options to the lawyer and the former chief negotiator.

But just days later Akel chose to back Mavroyiannis.