Nicos Anastasiades elected 7th President of Cyprus after securing 57.5% in second round
Prepared by ampersand public affairs on 25 February.
Democratic Rally DISY leader Nicos Anastasiades secured 57.5% of the vote in the second round of the presidential elections and was last night elected the 7th president of the Republic of Cyprus. His opponent ruling AKEL candidate Stavros Malas, secured 42.5%.
Despite an expected high abstention rate combined with blank protest votes following the elimination of Giorgios Lillikas in the first round last week, the 66 year old Anastasiades, secured a strong mandate increasing his first round showing by 12 percentage points drawing increased support from the Democratic Party DIKO, the European Party, the Green Party and the Socialists EDEK. In real numbers he increased his 200,571 votes of the first round to 236,965. Mr Malas increased his share by 15 percentage points, which was not, however, enough to threaten Anastasiades.
Even though international media had described an anticipated victory for Anastasiades as a first important step for Cyprus to secure the international bail out it urgently requires, the day-after remains considerably difficult for Mr Anastasiades who takes over officially on 1 March. During the campaign the President elect’s team had stated that up to 50 legislative bills have already been elaborated and are ready to be brought before the House of Representatives where Mr Anastasiades’ party DISY and its affiliated parties hold a clear majority.
In his first remarks after his victory Mr Anastasiades called for unity internally and for regaining the country’s credibility externally. He stated that his biggest challenge is to set the economy on the path of stabilization and growth for which he intended to cooperate with Cyprus’ EU partners so as to achieve the earliest possible completion of the Memorandum agreement in a manner that safeguards vulnerable groups, social cohesion and peaceful labour relations. He assured that he would implement an ambitious programme of structural reforms. When facing great challenges, we want Europe by our side, where Cyprus belongs, he said, adding that, “on our part, we intend to be absolutely consistent and honour all our obligations”. In a clear shift in foreign policy from his communist predecessor, Anastasiades claimed that one of his administration’s first acts would be to submit an application for Cyprus’ membership to NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme.
From Brussels the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, congratulated Anastasiades and assured him that he can count on the continued commitment of the European Commission to assist Cyprus to overcome the challenges it faces. The Cypriot people, he said, gave Mr Anastasiades a strong mandate to implement his programme of reform and to do what it takes to ensure fiscal and financial sustainability. Wilfried Martens, the president of the European People’s Party EPP, DISY’s affiliated European group, personally congratulated Anastasiades for his landslide victory saying in a statement that Cyprus now has a reliable President that inspires confidence in Europe.
Speculation over key appointees to his 11-member cabinet point to Mr Michalis Sarris as a likely Finance Minister and of Mr Ioannis Kasoulides as Foreign Minister. Sarris is a former World Bank executive and former minister of Finance who oversaw Cyprus’ transition into the Euro in 2008. Christopher Pissarides is a London School of Economics professor of Economics and Cyprus’ only Nobel Laureate and is expected to take charge of the soon to be established advisory Council for Economic Policy. Ioannis Kasoulides, currently a Member of the European Parliament served as Foreign Minister in the Clerides administration and had lost the 2008 presidential elections to Demetris Christofias.
Mr Anastasiades’ victory and the formation of his cabinet are expected to bring changes to the composition of the parliamentary groups of DISY and DIKO in the House of Representatives as well as to his own party’s hierarchy, from where he is now expected to resign as leader, a post he has held since 1997.
Out of a total 545,493 registered voters, 445,009 voted (a 81% turnout) which was down slightly from the 83% turnout in the first round.
Nicos Anastasiades 57.48% 236,965 votes
Stavros Malas 42.52% 175,267
Last week’s First Round
Nicos Anastasiades 45.46% 200,571 votes
Stavros Malas 26.91% 118,725
Giorgos Lillikas 24.93% 110,000
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