CYPRUS
Countdown to Cyprus Presidential elections underway

Cypriots living in the UK will be able to cast their votes for the Cyprus presidential election this Sunday 5 February 2023, at a total of ten polling stations.

Five stations have been set up in two locations in London; three at the Cyprus High Commission, 13 St. James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LB, where 1461 people have registered to vote, and two at the Cypriot Community Centre, Earlham Grove, Wood Green, London N22 5HJ, where 815 people are expected to vote.

An additional five polling stations will operate across the UK; in Manchester – at the function hall of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Bury New Road, Salford M7 4EY (365 registered voters); in Birmingham – at The Midlands Greek & Cypriot Association,  Magnet Centre, Park Approach, B23 7SJ (311 registered voters); in Leeds – at the function hall of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Three Hierarchs, 57 Harehills Avenue, Leeds LS8 4EU (234 registered voters); in Bristol – at the function hall of the Greek Orthodox Church of St Peter and St Paul, Lower Ashley Road, Bristol BS5 0YL (203 registered voters); and in Glasgow – at the function hall of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Luke the Evangelist, 27 Dundonald Road, Dowanhill, Glasgow G12 9LL (257 registered voters).

Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK, Odysseas Odysseos, urged those who will exercise their right to vote at the Cyprus High Commission, to bear in mind that there will be traffic restrictions and road closures in central London on the day of the presidential election, due to the 10k Cancer Research UK London Winter Run taking place.

“Voters making their way to the High Commission on Sunday 5 February are advised

to use the underground (nearest tube stations: Piccadilly Circus and Green Park), rail (London Paddington), or bus services (routes 6, 14, 19, 38 and 94 to Piccadilly Circus or route 9 to Pall Mall/St James’s Palace) as a scheduled marathon taking place in central London will result in limited vehicle access,” he said.

Mr Odysseos underlined however that people with mobility problems, pregnant women and the elderly, will be permitted to drive through Duke Street and Jerymn Street to get to the High Commission, if they show proof of ID and their electoral passbook to traffic marshals.

Polling stations will open at 8am UK time and close at 4pm, with a break between 12:00-12:30pm.

Concluding, Mr Odysseos called upon the 3,646 UK Cypriots on the electoral register, to exercise their right to vote.

“The right to vote is sacred. Every five years, we as citizens can make our voices heard, and on February 5th, we have the opportunity to do so.”

Besides the UK, electoral centres have been set up in Greece, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels, Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg, Sofia, Stockholm, The Hague, New York and Dubai.

Approximately 561,000 voters are registered to vote in the 2023 presidential elections.

There are three main candidates: ruling-DISY backed Averof Neophytou, AKEL-backed independent Andreas Mavroyiannis, and DIKO and EDEK-backed independent Nikos Christodoulides.

If no candidate receives a majority of the vote on 5 February, a runoff will be held on 12 February.

DISY and AKEL ramp up the election rhetoric

The AKEL and DISY camps on Monday turned up the rhetoric dial, seeking to rally their respective fan bases by highlighting what was at stake for the next five years.

AKEL got the ball rolling with a statement mocking President Nicos Anastasiades for the way in which he stumped for DISY candidate Averof Neophytou during an event held over the weekend. An emotive Anastasiades appealed to the audience: “If you love me, for those among you who do love me, you should vote for Averof.”

Commenting on this, AKEL said: “Even the stones in Cyprus know that Nicos Anastasiades supports Neophytou when he’s on stage, but roots for Nikos Christodoulides behind the scenes.”

According to AKEL, this made it very clear what was really at stake: “Either there will be a continuation of the Anastasiades administration, with the one or other DISY candidate (meaning Neophytou or Nikos Christodoulides), or we shall achieve change with Andreas Mavroyiannis as president.”

Christodoulides had served as government spokesman and then foreign minister in the current administration, before resigning in January 2022. He formally announced his candidacy in June.

“The dilemma for all people is crystal clear – Anastasiades and DISY, or cleansing and change? A third Anastasiades administration, or Andreas Mavroyiannis as president?”

Environmental topics

DISY-backed Averof Neophytou was the only one of the three main presidential candidates who failed to respond to a series of environmental related questions, including his climate crisis policies.

The questions were submitted to the campaign offices of Averof Neophytou, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Nikos Christodoulides by environmental NGO Terra Cypria on January 5.

Last week, the organisation published a summary of how the candidates commented on Terra Cypria’s four positions, alongside their opinion on the answers. Neophytou was the only candidate who failed to respond.

The topics concerned the Akamas’ development, the illegal bird killing, dispersed development, and the climate crisis.

The first question concerned their opinion on the Akamas development plan and whether they would implement the conditions set by the environment department. Both Mavroyiannis and Christodoulides said the environment department conditions must be fully implemented in the plan.

In the next question about the illegal killing of migratory birds and whether they would reinstate the operation of the poaching prevention unit upon their election, the two candidates answered in the affirmative.

As regard the individual residence policy, the candidates were asked whether they will address this and similar policies which allow dispersed development in rural areas.

Terra Cypria agreed with Mavroyiannis’ position to licence such development only if it concerns primary residence and provided there are specific social reasons.

About climate crisis, the question concerned actions to tackle it and measures to reduce emissions in the transport sector as well as energy transition.

The question is complex, Mavroyiannis noted, who proceeded to explain that one of his main points is to establish a deputy ministry of green transition and sustainability.

Both candidates said they will improve the national plan on energy and the climate in line with the European Union’s agreements and invest on renewable energy sources (RES).

Mavroyiannis added that the upgrade of waste management of bulky items is also included in his policies.

With regard to transport, which accounts for a large share of emissions, he said that smart bus stations will be established and more sidewalks will be constructed.

Source: Parikiaki.com

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