Former Anastasiades-cabinet member Nikos Christodoulides won the runoff presidential election on Sunday in the Republic of Cyprus, sporting a new brand of politics and vowing to form a government with “broad social acceptance.”
Christodoulides, a career diplomat who also had served as foreign minister in the outgoing Anastasiades administration, broke ranks with his own ruling party DISY and ran on an independent ticket backed by the center.
But on runoff election Sunday he got overwhelming support from a big chunk of the conservative vote, with media pundits saying his victory with almost 52% of the vote was signaling a more mature brand of politics where issues played a more significant role than party lines.
Christodoulides has called on voters of any party affiliation to join a broad collation and unite behind a solution-oriented government, vowing to tackle issues in a positive and constructive manner
“I am ready to govern and address the great challenges,” Christodoulides told supporters Sunday night in a crowded stadium in Nicosia.
The president-elect, who will take office on March 1, has not publicly given hints about how he would fill Cabinet seats except to declare it would be a gender-balanced administration.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, Christodoulides has been in contact with DISY members, leaving room for speculation that some Cabinet seats could go to his deeply-divided conservative party.
DISY president and first round losing candidate Averof Neophytou, whose supporters are believed to have voted against Christodoulides in the runoff election, had stated after the first round that the party would be in the opposition.
But after Sunday’s final results, media pundits took note of Averof’s comments that made no reference to the word opposition, with the seasoned politician suggesting instead that DISY would play a supportive role.
Kathimerini’s Marina Economides pointed out that the question of whether DISY will be in the opposition could be answered after party elections, which are tentatively scheduled to take place in March. Averof has said he would run again to continue leading the party, while other high ranking members said they would make their decisions in the coming days.
Christodoulides, the late Archbishop Chrysostomos favorite who ran on a pro-European platform, is expected to face multiple challenges ranging from failed peace talks on divided Cyprus to migration and corruption scandals.
His runoff opponent, career diplomat and left-backed Andreas Mavroyiannis who got 48%, had vowed to tackle corruption, with his supporters fearing that Christodoulides, an ally of the outgoing president who has been implicated by media in golden passport scandals, may not be tough with corruption probes.
But Christodoulides has called on voters of any party affiliation to join a broad collation and unite behind a solution-oriented government, vowing to tackle issues in a positive and constructive manner.