The Cyprus problem, immigration and the economy are the main challenges for incoming president Nikos Christodoulides, the international press reported on Monday.
News outlet Voice of America reported that Christodoulides promised a unity government tasked with breaking the deadlock in peace talks with the estranged Turkish Cypriots.
According to the US network, the incoming president faces problems ranging from a stalemate in reunification talks, to labour disputes amid runaway inflation, to the fallout from corruption scandals and a spike in migration that has left authorities coping with thousands of asylum applications.
ABC News, another US broadcaster, spoke of Christodoulides “trying to mend fences” after splitting the Disy party vote by breaking party ranks as an independent rival to Averof Neophytou, and speculated on reasons for Mavroyiannis’ defeat, saying many voters did not want communist Akel to regain a foothold in Cypriot government, and feared such a presidency would “threaten the country’s fragile economy and pro-Western trajectory.”
Chinese news agency Xinhua mentioned that Christodoulides invited Disy to join a government of general acceptance, but the party declined and would instead act as a responsible opposition.
The new Cypriot president will face several pressing challenges, the Chinese outlet said, listing them as stalled reunification, rising illegal immigration, labour disputes and high inflation.
Elsewhere India Today also broadcast the elections with an emphasis on new negotiations on the Cyprus issue.
In its sub head to the election result announcement, The Guardian mentioned that incoming Christodoulides had been backed by groups hostile to talks on the island’s reunification.
“For many, his victory dashed hopes of a near-term solution to the decades-old dispute that has left Cyprus, the EU’s easternmost state, bitterly divided,” The Guardian said.
The news site also reported that, during his campaign, Christodoulides suggested Cyprus could support an EU customs union upgrade for Turkey and visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens entering the bloc, in exchange for Ankara agreeing to open a port for Cypriot-flagged ships – a bid viewed by some as a way to break the peace talks logjam.
Meanwhile, Arab news source Al Jazeera said top concerns for many voters are the cost-of-living crisis, irregular immigration and the island’s almost half-century of division.
Many disaffected voters simply looked for the lesser of the evils – a characteristic in most elections but more so in this one, Al Jazeera said quoting a spokesman from the Cyprus Centre for European and International Affairs.
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