Cyprus election: ex-foreign minister now president

The independent former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides was elected as the new president of Cyprus with 51.9 percent of the vote on Sunday. His opponent Andreas Mavrogiannis of the left-wing AKEL party won 48.1 percent. The president also leads the government in Cyprus, which for the first time does not include either of the two major parties DISY (centre-right) and AKEL. The national press also finds this noteworthy.

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Phileleftheros (CY) /

A chance to start a new era

Phileleftheros emphasises Christodoulides' independence:

“The most significant development is that for the first time the two major parties are not involved in the government. ... The voters' continuous turning away from the parties, which has been going on for the last twenty years, has found its clearest expression so far in the presidential election. ... Society is fed up with political pacts (which it associates with corruption) and has voted for a president who didn't engage in any pacts before the election and addressed the citizens directly. With the mandate he has received from the people, Christodoulides is in a position to implement his policies clearly and to establish a new era for the country.”

Kathimerini (CY) /

Challenges everywhere

Christodoulides will not have an easy time of things, the Cypriot edition of Kathimerini explains:

“For the first time, a president faces both major parties in the opposition. The question, however, is how he will govern with the centrist parties which are divided both internally and among themselves. He will have to strike a fine balance to be able to act, and the first challenge will be the formation of his government. ... From the next day on he will face difficult tasks: convincing the international players of his will to solve the Cyprus question, dealing with the looming difficulties in the economy caused by high prices, and proving that he is willing to fight corruption at its root.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

He must prove his leadership qualities

The Cyprus Mail sees the president-elect facing many new challenges:

“Christodoulides will be the first president of the republic with no prior experience of leadership. He has worked as a civil servant and subsequently for a government that was led by someone else. ... The nebulous concepts of participatory democracy and consultations with civil society that he spoke about in his campaign will be of no use now. He will have to show he is in charge, that he is not afraid to take difficult decisions and that he has the stomach for a fight when needed. This is how he will assert his leadership skills, which is essential for his presidency to make a good start.”