Today, incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades of the Democratic Rally party faces independent Stavros Malas in a runoff election for the five-year presidency. As expected, Anastasiades won the first round with 35.5%, while Malas closely followed with 30.2%, a demonstration of overall support for leftist leadership.
The contest draws attention to the increased likelihood of reunification with the ethnically Turkish North, as both candidates have campaigned on the departure from the decades-long strife with the North in search of restored national unity.
However, Cypriots are more concerned with economic recovery than any potential reunification, a decades-long issue that has bleak prospects of improvement. Emerging from the 2013 bailout program, Cyrpus has demonstrated steady growth; since 2016, during Anastasiades’ administration, GDP has increased and unemployment has decreased. Workers and businesses are still recovering from wage slashes and tax hikes under austerity measures, which Malas seeks to counter by establishing a minimum wage and supporting the middle class with nonperforming loans.
Following the January 31 televised debate, it is likely that Anastasiades will be reelected due to his experience and revival of Cyprus’ economic reputation.
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Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.