Cyprus Election Focuses on Partition, Economy

Cyprus election from 2016 (file photo)

President Nicos Anastasiades heads into Sunday’s Cyprus election as the favorite in a campaign dominated by the economy and stalled efforts to reunify the divided island.

Among the nine candidates for the top job — all male — the center-right Democratic Rally leader is projected to win the first round, the results of which are expected at 8.30 p.m. local time (1830GMT).

The strongest challengers are communist-backed Stavros Malas and Nicolas Papadopoulos, head of the centrist Democratic Party.

Over half a million voters are eligible to choose the next head of state, who will stay in office for five years. If a candidate fails to win 50 percent, there will be a runoff vote the following Sunday.

Although Cyprus’ economy has improved since 2013, failed UN-backed peace talks over reuniting the island in July last year collapsed.

Recently a Turkish Cypriot newspaper was attacked by crowds after it drew the ire of Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for coverage hostile to Turkey’s military operations in Syria.