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Nicosia, Feb 13 – Former Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides won the runoff election and will be the next President of Cyprus, Chief Returning Officer Costas Constantinou announced after the counting of all ballot papers.
Christodoulides, who ran as an independent received 51.97 per cent of the votes, compared to 48.03 per cent received by his opponent, Andreas Mavroyiannis, who also ran as an independent and had the support of the left-wing AKEL party.
Christodoulides will take office on March 1, to succeed Nicos Anastasiades, who already served two terms and couldn’t seek re-election according to the law, Xinhua news agency reported.
Christodoulides has served under Anastasiades as director of the Diplomatic Office of the President, as government spokesperson and Foreign Minister.
Election analyst Yiannis Mavris told CyBC television that the voters of the right-wing DISY party tilted the scale in favour of Christodoulides, despite the fact that he caused a rift in the party by running against its leader, Averof Neophytou. Christodoulides was a DISY official before submitting his candidacy.
Christodoulides invited DISY to take part in a “general acceptance government” he plans to announce, but the party declined the offer and said it would act as a “responsible opposition”.
The new Cypriot President will be facing several pressing challenges, including restarting the deadlocked reunification negotiations, preventing increasing illegal immigration and solving labour disputes amid high inflation.
Presidential elections are held in Cyprus every five years.
The Chief Returning Officer said that 406,616 out of about 561,000 registers voters cast ballot in the runoff, which equals to about 72.5 per cent turnout.