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Entering the final stretch
THIS TIME next week Cypriots will be in the process of voting in a new government and for the first time ever the main issue will be the economy, and not the Cyprus problem.
Most analysts agree that the outcome will be crucial for the future of the island but it will be the voters who must decide who they think is best to run the country in a time of crisis.
Entering the final stretch, the last election poll from state broadcaster CyBC last night, gave another clear lead to DISY leader Nicos Anastasiades with 39.9 per cent of those asked saying they intended to vote for him, compared with 24.2 per cent for AKEL-backed Stavros Malas and 20.2 per cent who said they were voting for EDEK-backed Giorgos Lillikas.
But last night’s poll also confirmed previous ones showing a split among DIKO voters between Anastasiades and Lillikas, despite DIKO’s official support for the DISY chief. A total of 45.7 per cent of DIKO voters said they would vote for Lillikas, compared to 42.1 per cent who were voting for Anastasiades. From AKEL, 79.3 per cent are voting for Malas, but 10.3 per cent said they were voting for Lillikas. Lillikas even got 3.2 per cent of DISY voters, 94.5 per cent of whom are voting for Anastasiades.
Most people thought there would be a second round to determine a majority winner with 45.7 per cent said they would choose Anastasiades over Malas who would get 31.0 per cent if he runs against Anastasiades.
Anastasiades’ lead against Lillikas in a second round was smaller, according to the poll with 42.1 per cent saying they were voting for Anastasiades, 32.1 per cent for Lillikas. In that scenario, 49.4 per cent of DIKO voters would go with Lillikas and 43.9 per cent with Anastasiades.
When the choice was Lillikas or Malas, most chose Lillikas (34.4 per cent) rather than Malas (27.5 per cent).
Asked who they would not vote for under any circumstances vote, 38 per cent said that would be Malas and 34 per cent said they could not vote for Anastasiades.
Asked how interested they were in the elections, 42 per cent said they weren’t very keen and 57 per cent they were quite or very interested. A total of 85 per cent of those asked said they were definitely voting, an increase by ten percentage point since October 2013. Voting is mandatory in Cyprus, but in practice no one is prosecuted for being a no-show.
Undecided voters came to 22 per cent, most coming from DIKO (24 per cent), followed by AKEL (20 per cent), and DISY (12 per cent).
Some 55 per cent thought Cyprus should sign a memorandum agreement on debt bailout terms agreed with its international lenders but a third disagreed, and some 30 per cent said no party had the right attitude for negotiating with the lenders, known as the troika. Some 24 per cent thought DISY, whose leader is willing to sign an agreement as soon as possible, had the right attitude, followed by 15 per cent who favoured ruling party AKEL’s attitude, that is against some of the agreed measures. The majority, 83 per cent, said people’s votes would be influenced by measures on the public deficit and debt.
Anastasiades was deemed more competent than the other two main contenders, with 49 per cent thinking he was a natural leader versus 15 per cent for Malas and 13 per cent for Lillikas. Some 25 per cent thought Anastasiades was honest compared with 22 per cent for Malas and 15 per cent for Lillikas; and 38 per cent said Anastasiades was capable of negotiating bailout terms compared with 18 per cent for Malas and 17 per cent for Lillikas.
In the remaining days before next Sunday’s elections, the three main contenders have been busy roaming the island and making statements.
Surrounded by masses of people in Nicosia’s Eleftheria stadium during a rally on Friday night, Lillikas said he would construct a dignified future putting the economy onto the right track, and safeguarding Cyprus’ natural resources. “Now is your time,” Lillikas told his voters. “We can do this together. We owe this to our children,” he said.
In Limassol, Anastasiades promised a new beginning that would bring about change and make Cypriots proud of their island. “(I) will not make you feel insecure as today’s leaders do. They will be departing in just a few days,” Anastasiades said.
Malas’ spokesman, MEP Hadjigeorgiou, said yesterday that Anastasiades was trying to scaremonger people against Malas, but warned against an Anastasiades administration.
“We call on people to choose a young, reliable, responsible (person). We call on people to vote for someone who can come head to head against political decline,” Hadjigeorgiou said.