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Political leaders call for unity as they cast their votes (Update 3)

Προεδρικές Εκλογές 2023 – Επαναληπτ
President Nicos Anastasiades after he cast his vote in Limassol (PIO)

Party leaders across Cyprus’ political spectrum turned up at polling stations around the country to cast their preference in the runoff of the presidential elections on Sunday.

At the end of the day, one between former foreign minister and ex-Disy member Nikos Christodoulides or former chief negotiator on the Cyprus problem, Akel-backed Andreas Mavroyiannis will become the eighth president of Cyprus, replacing outgoing Nicos Anastasiades.

Anastasiades cast his vote at 9.30am accompanied by his wife Andri and his grandchildren.

Speaking to journalists after voting, he said it will be the duty of all Cypriot citizens to support the new president.

“The majority will decide who will be elected and the minority will need to accept the result, in respect to our democratic values,” he said.

Asked to comment on the allegations of corruption that marred his presidential terms, he said that he is not interested in engaging in conversation with those who try to harm the stability of the country.

He was indirectly referring to Katie Clerides, daughter of Disy founder Glafcos Clerides, who urged the party to back Mavroyiannis.

“I don’t want to comment on vulgarities. How is it even possible to carry a name [Clerides] which you do not honour?” Anastasiades quipped.

Anastasiades added that he will be discreetly at the disposal of the new president “offering advice, focusing on the positive, rather than the negative.”

“I will still be present and, when necessary, I will do everything in my power to help,” he said.

Casting his vote at 9.45am from his native village of Yeroskypou, Christodoulides, the winner of the first round, said he has complete confidence that people will make the right choice.

“I have complete confidence in the Cypriot citizens. The most important thing is to remain united, no matter what the outcome of the election will be,” he said.

“The problems our country is facing are everyone’s problems, they do not care about ideology. This is crucial. We need to adequately serve and listen to everyone, regardless of who they will vote.”

Mavroyiannis, accompanied by his wife and children, cast his vote at 1pm.

“This is not the time for division, nor for disagreements, it’s the time to stand together for our country,” he said.

“I want to send to all people in Cyprus a message of unity and solidarity. It is time to turn a new page for our country, a new European Cyprus.”

Asked to comment on the positive outcome of the election results last Sunday, Mavroyiannis remained optimistic.

“All signs point to a victory for us,” he told journalists gathered outside his voting station Aglantzia.

“We will be winners and Cyprus will be with us, I’m sure.”

Disy leader Averof Neophytou, the big loser in the first round last Sunday, also called for unity, urging all people to cast their vote in the runoff.

“We will stand by whoever will win today, if not in the same government, at least in the challenges that we will be called to face together as a country,” he said.

“We need a strong country as much as we need a united Disy.”

A party meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday at 6pm.

House President Annita Demetriou, who cast her vote from Troulli in the Larnaca district, said unity will need to prevail after the outcome of Sunday’s election.

Προεδρικές Εκλογές 2023 – Επαναληπτ
Annita Demetriou

“We are looking forward to the results and, no matter what, we will work together for a better Cyprus,” she told journalists outside the voting station.

Asked whether she considered running for office in the next presidential election, Demetriou said she did not make up her mind yet.

Many believed she would have fared very well if she decided to run for president in the current election.

“At the moment we still have many challenges to face and we must face them together,” she said.

Depa leader Marios Karoyian was the first politician to cast his vote on Sunday.

“Today we celebrate democracy,” he said. ‘The people will decide”.

Speaking to journalists from his polling station in Nicosia, he said there is much uncertainty ahead, in Cyprus and in the world.

“There is great insecurity, great geopolitical rearrangements and compositions. The wisdom of the many is needed. We need to leave behind what has hurt us.

“Tomorrow there should be no winners and losers. The winners must be the country and the people. The winner must be our society. The winner must be our youth.

“On the other hand, the losers must be the people who have wounded the dignity of this country or those who tried to stunt the dreams of our younger generation.

“We have an obligation to rise above ourselves, to pave the way and get our country to where it truly deserves to be. Now is the time to decide,” Karoyian said.

Voting after the Depa leader, Akel secretary general Stefanos Stefanou said his thoughts were with the country and its people, his mind on the Pentadaktylos and the occupied land and that with his heart he is hoping for better days ahead.

“Especially for your younger generations. We need to provide them with prospects, opportunities and give the prosperity.

“With these thoughts, I call on all voters to do the same for all of our sake. And tomorrow, we will need to respect each other and work together to bring Cyprus forward,” Stefanou said.

The leader of far-right Elam cast his vote at 11.30am and said that, starting on Monday, the new president will have to start focusing on the issues affecting Cyprus and its people.

“And there are many,” he told journalists.

Christou ran as a candidate in the first round garnering 6 per cent of the vote. The party subsequently decided not to throw their vote behind either candidate.

Voting in Limassol, Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos called for the next president to ensure prosperity in Cyprus “in order not to return to the time of food banks.”

“We need to tackle several issues, such as unemployment and the exodus of our younger generation,” he said.

He also took a dig at the Unficyp head Colin Stewart, who last month allegedly said that the Greek Cypriot side only complains when it needs to act.

“His were unacceptable statements,” Sizopoulos commented outside his voting station, even though the issue was resolved with the government.

“Instead of promoting the UN principles, he turned into a spokesperson for Turkey. This is an issue that concerns us a lot.”

Former Cyprus president George Vassiliou said he hoped the result of the election would yield a better future for the country.

“My only wish is that a better day will dawn for our Cyprus after today,” he said.

Green Party leader Charalambos Theopemptou urged the winner of Sunday’s election to be a president for everyone and to start tackling corruption in Cyprus.

“He will also need to repair the damage done to the environment over the years and to address all problems faced by families with low income,” he said.

“We need to help the weak, those who have been abandoned by the previous administration.”

Police spokesperson Christos Andreou said that 2,250 police officers were deployed around Cyprus during the second round of elections.

In addition to that, he said that the snow on mountain roads was cleared in order to allow people to reach their voting stations. Drones and a police helicopter will also patrol the island.

A total of 561,033 people are registered to vote on Sunday. Voting stations opened at 7am and will close at 6pm, with a break between noon and 1pm.

In the first round, Christodoulides secured 32.04 per cent with Mavroyiannis not far behind at 29.61 per cent. Disy leader Averof Neophytou was elbowed out of the first round.

In a tumultuous party meeting on Tuesday, it was decided that Disy would encourage a free vote from its supporters and a place in the opposition in the next government.

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