For the first time in Cyprus’ political history, the two biggest parties of the country have failed to get their preferred presidential candidate elected to power, marking the diminishing power Akel and Disy are currently faced with, according to elections expert Yiannis Mavris.

Analysing the outcome of the elections to the Cyprus News Agency on Monday, Mavris’ comments are indicative of the soul-searching the parties will have to undertake – particularly Disy, which is left having to pick up the pieces of a fragmented party.

Akel’s support had gone to independent candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis, who although lost, emerged with a transformed image, surprising many by even making it to the final round. He trailed behind Christodoulides with 3.82 per cent less support than the president-elect’s 51.97 per cent.

According to Mavris, the fall in Disy’s and Akel’s power to influence is cemented in the fact that they could not get their candidates – Averof Neophytou and Mavroyiannis respectively – in power. This is bound to create some uncertainty on how the next parliament will shape up and what alliances will follow.

But was Christodoulides’ victory expected? Mavris said it certainly was no surprise. Out of 43 polls carried out before the elections, every single one of them gave him an edge over the others.

“Any research that showed there was a possibility of Nikos Christodoulides and Andreas Mavroyiannis would fight it out in the second round, gave the victory to Christodoulides.”

The big development of the results however “lies in the dynamic rise of Andreas Mavroyiannis in the first round which led to the exclusion of Averof Neophytou”.

And this was where the party alliances boiled down to – with voters showing that party decisions do still have a role, leading into a fight-off between the right-wing and centre-left fragments of society.

For instance, Mavris pointed out that 70 per cent of Disy voters actually preferred Christodoulides. Akel’s voters remained loyal for the most part, with 95 per cent casting their vote to Mavroyiannis.

Diko, Edek and Dipa rallied around Christodoulides while Elam’s 79 per cent of voters also supported Christodoulides.

The Green party did not formally announce it was backing a certain candidate leaving it up to individual members, however Mavris says the party largely moved to rally around Mavroyiannis.

According to Mavris, just over half of the voters (52 per cent) that voted for Neophytou in the first round, then supported Christodoulides in the run-off. A remaining 43.5 per cent backed Mavroyiannis while 4.5 per cent cast a blank or invalid vote.

The results are indicative of the deep divisions Disy is currently facing. After Neophytou’s exclusion from the run-off, he announced the party would not be backing a preferred candidate but instead left it to a conscience vote.

The consequence of this was 70 per cent of Disy’s voters supported Christodoulides in the second round, “a figure that is by no means insignificant” he said.

“If we look at the origin of Christodoulides’ voters, 35 per cent of those who voted for him on the second Sunday came from Disy, even though the party’s official position was to be in opposition.”

Commenting on the broader change of the culture in Cypriot voter attitudes, Mavris noted there was a certain “fluidity” observed in the election period that reveal voter disengagement and “more relaxed” party identifications.

“The personalities of the two candidates played a role because both candidates recorded social influence that extended beyond the parties which supported them,” Mavris revealed.

This was confirmed in the run-off where both Christodoulides and Mavroyiannis rallied forces broader than their narrow electoral audience, he added.

“Also, for the first time ever, the smaller candidates in the first round garnered a cumulative 12.5 per cent, a high percentage in the history of presidential elections in Cyprus since 1983,” he concluded.

Mavris also reflected back to the 2021 parliamentary election, where the results indicated the power of the two parties was already diminished. Together, they gathered 50 per cent of the votes but in 2001, had garnered 69 per cent.

“All four traditional parties in Cyprus, which together garnered 90 per cent of the vote in 2001, saw that reduced to 68 per cent in 2021,” Mavris told CNA, adding that one third of the electorate in recent years voted beyond the four traditional parties.