presidential elections 2023 cyprus

Written by Sana Azhar 8:03 pm Articles, Current Affairs, International Relations, Published Content

The 2023 Presidential Elections in Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus held its 2023 presidential elections in February. It was held in two rounds since no candidate was able to receive a majority of the vote in the first round. It was a face-off between ex-foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides and a seasoned diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis. The former gained 51.9% of votes, while the latter gained 48.1% of votes, thus giving victory to Christodoulides.
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About the Author(s)
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Sana Azhar is a design graduate of the National College of Arts. She likes to read and write about international relations, especially the ongoing great game between powerful states.

The division of the island of Cyprus into the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is also called the last dividing wall of Europe.  Nationalism, geo-political interests, and the colonial legacy have divided the island into two parts. Today, this pretext is commonly used by the parties in the Republic of Cyprus to contest the elections. Each candidate tries to project himself as “the one” who is going to unite the island again.

To understand the results of the 2023 presidential elections in Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides (51.9%) and Andreas Mavroyiannis (48.1%), it is important to understand the background and the political campaigns of both candidates. Christodoulides worked as a foreign minister with the last government and defected from the DISY party. He resigned from his position to run in the election against his party DISY which is a right-wing party.

Christodoulides has a hard stance towards the reunification of the island, and his campaign mostly centered around resolving the decades-old division. Besides this, Christodoulides also aims to protect the country’s westward alignment as it is crucial to help it seek cushion in the increasing times of economic challenges, skyrocketing inflation, and its role in finding a solution for the reunification that the UN has failed to provide.

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Andreas Mavroyiannis has served as a permanent representative at the UN and a chief negotiator in the last peace talks held in Switzerland regarding the UN-led reunification. In addition to this, he is also backed by the AKEL party which has communist roots. This is the reason why the public preferred the ex-foreign minister over him as they don’t want to lose their pro-West alignment which is important to deal with the decade-high inflation in the country.

Now that Christodoulides has won the 2023 presidential elections, he must while representing the Republic of Cyprus restart the negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots as the talks on reunification have been in a deadlock. The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish army invaded the island. While Turkey recognizes Northern Cyprus as an independent country, no other country in the world recognizes it.

Christodoulides aims to use the platform of the European Union to get Turkey on board to break the deadlock and proceed with negotiations. In addition to this, inflation is at its peak in years, reaching up to ten percent in 2022. In order to meet this challenge, the new government will have to take strict anti-corruption actions and address the increasing cost of living and energy bills. Thus, the newly elected president aims to have a “humanist purpose above all”.

Chritodoulides also aims to work on the development of the newly discovered natural gas deposits in the south of Cyprus which will be crucial especially when the world is facing an energy crunch. Adding up to these challenges, the new regime also faces the challenge of unauthorized immigrants. As the island remains divided between north and south, the Greek and Turkish ethnic people have largely been displaced over the years.

Although the election process has come to an end, the challenges related to the economy, energy, illegal immigrants, and reunification still remain on the center stage. The policies and the measures taken by the new regime will decide if these challenges will be tackled or not.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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