The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, is among the nine people to have formally submitted their candidacy on Friday for January’s presidential election.
Anastasiades, of the Conservative party, is the pollsters favourite to win the election, the first round of which will be held on January 28.
« We are in the final stretch before the presidential election, » he told reporters after filing his candidacy. « I believe that in the coming weeks, a peaceful political climate will prevail, because in the aftermath of this election, Cyprus should find us all united for the good of our country. »
Running against the incumbent are Stavros Malas, an independent supported by the main opposition Communist party Akel, and Nicolas Papadopoulos, whose father was himself president between 2003 and 2008.
Malas, who was beaten by Anastasiades in the previous election, criticised the president for failing to secure a deal in the reunification talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, and bring an end to 40 years of division on the island.
Papadopoulos, who is standing for the Democrats but also counts on the support of the Socialists, the Green party and the Solidarity Movement has called for social change on the island.
« Together we are a massive social majority that wants to see an end to failed policies and that wants to restore dignity back to our people, who want to correct injustices, strengthen the social state, restore the middle class, to develop the Cypriot economy, to tackle conflict, corruption, to implement in practice a new strategy for the Republic of Cyprus, but also for efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, » said Papadopoulos.
Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish army invaded the northern part of the island in 1974 in response to a coup d’état aimed at forming a union with Greece. The Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004, exercises its authority only in the southern part of the island.