Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides
After all the campaigning, the name-calling, an unprecedented split in one of the nation’s oldest parties and accusations of corruption, it’s finally over. Nikos Christodoulides has won and is now the 8th president of the Republic of Cyprus.
The independent candidate received over 51.91% of the votes over the Akel-backed independent candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis. Mavroyiannis, however, did win a respectable number of votes at just over 48.09%, proving he has a strong show of support from the public. Out of 561,273 registered voters, 406,626 (72.45%) voted in this election. A strong turnout at 72.2%.
Christodoulides' path to the presidency was not a smooth one. Originally a member of the right-wing DISY party, he caused an unprecedented split by opting to run as an independent, pitting his supporters against those of Averof Neofytou. Members of the DISY party who supported Averof Neofytou, the "heir apparent" to the president, as some dubbed him, attacked him for this and labeled him a "traitor and apostate." Christodoulides didn't elaborate when asked to respond, only saying, "When you want to lead a country, you have to be above these things."
Many expected the final showdown to be between the former Foreign Minister and DISY president Averof Neofytou. However, in the race for second and third place in the first round, Andreas Mavroyiannis came out on top, surprising many people and causing resentment among DISY party members who supported Neofytou.
The race ended on Sunday evening when, even before the count had finished, Andreas Mavroyiannis conceded with a congratulatory call to Nikos Christodoulides.
In his press conference following his concession, Andreas Mavroyiannis said, "Tonight marks the end of a long but beautiful journey. I'd like to thank my fellow travelers, business partners, and family. AKEL, the great left-wing party. I'm sorry we couldn't meet the high expectations for such a significant change. To express my congratulations to N. Christodoulidis. Cyprus will always bring us together. I'm still involved in the fight. I have no plans to return to the political scene. I will continue to be an active citizen. Tomorrow will find me at home."
President Nicos Anastasiades and DISY president Averof Neofytou also called to congratulate the new president-elect. Nikos Christodoulides will now move to Makarios stadium for his victory rally and acceptance speech.
Nikos Christodoulides was born on 6 December 1973 in Paphos.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Economics, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies from the City University of New York, Queens College, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from New York University. He holds a doctorate from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens.
He was a career diplomat between 1999 and 2018. During this time, he served, inter alia, as Consul General at the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in the United Kingdom, as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Cyprus in Greece and as Spokesperson of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU at the Permanent Mission of Cyprus in Brussels.
He also served as Director of the Diplomatic Office of the President of the Republic of Cyprus (2013-2018) and as Government Spokesman (2014-2018). On 1st March 2018, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position which he held until his resignation on 11 January 2022.
Between 2007 and 2010 he was a Lecturer and Research Associate at the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Cyprus on the subject of the History of the Postwar World. He is the author of the books Plans for Solution of the Cyprus Problem 1948-1978 (2009), Relations between Athens and Nicosia and the Cyprus Problem, 1977-1988 (2013), and Geopolitical Realities in the Plans for Solution of the Cyprus Problem 1948-1978 (2021).
He is married to Philippa Karsera and has four daughters, Ioanna, Ekaterini, Despina-Maria, and Phoebe.