By Annie Charalambous
With the summer holidays over and February’s presidential elections looming, hopefuls are ready for a full-throttle campaign with manifestos in hand.
“All hopefuls will focus on the economy and on how Cyprus should go one step forward now that it is stable but lacking substantial growth and innovation,” an analyst told the Cyprus Weekly.
“The Cyprus problem is in limbo, it can’t be any of the candidates’ top priority, it won’t sell. Hardline candidates will nonetheless try to convince voters they can implement a new policy, a new strategy,” added the analyst.
So far, the two official runners are hardline Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos and George Lillikas of the Citizens Alliance, who also ran in 2013 and came third with a respectable enough percentage.
Opposition left-wing Akel-backed Stavros Malas will officially announce his candidacy tomorrow and right-wing Disy-backed President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to declare his bid for re-election in mid-October.
- Budget for 2018 with elections in the background
- Voting in elections no longer compulsory
- Carnival behind presidential elections change of date
But above all on how to combat corruption and implement much–needed reforms in the public sector, a party insider said.
Malas will also send the message he is the only candidate who can revive the UN-brokered peace process, because he is a true believer of reunification, along with the party that backs him, added the insider.
Anastasiades will primarily focus on the economic achievements of his five-year-long governance, but also on other positives, such as agreement on the national health plan.
He will also stand for more gas drilling offshore Cyprus by international energy firms, which is a source of high revenue plus a confidence vote for the country and the government.
“The economy is stable, unemployment is slowly but steadily on the decrease and some much-needed reforms have been implemented,” a source close to the President said.
“Plus the gas chapter which is big, despite the political repercussions that come with it, this is how the President’s campaign will be spinning.”
Papadopoulos, whose campaign began months ago, will continue touring all the big towns and communities with emphasis given to “people problems”.
“Nicolas Papadopoulos’ manifesto will be unveiled by end of October, beginning of November,” party spokesman Athos Antoniades said.
Lillikas said his tours are almost over and that he had focused on issues people get stressed about, especially the state of their personal finances.
“They tell us the economy is stable, but ordinary people still struggle to make ends meet, my manifesto will pave the way for a different Cyprus, a new Cyprus with economic growth and innovation.”