Nicosia ---- With campaigning officially ended at midnight and only a few hours before ballots open for Sunday’s presidential elections, all is ready.
A total of 545,491 people will vote in Sunday’s elections, including 311 enclaved(Greek Cypriot who live in the northern Turkish occupied territories) and 14,441 Cypriots will vote at the 40 polling stations that will operate abroad.
A total of 1,139 polling stations will operate for the upcoming elections. The final result will be announced at around 20.30 local time (18.30 GMT). If no candidate secure sa minimum 50% plus one vote on Sunday, there will be a run off election on February 24
Chief returning office Andreas Assiotis noted as of today , it is forbidden by law for the candidates and the political parties to conduct any kind of campaign. He called on the candidates to abstain from any presidential gathering , adding that all their signs in the roads must be removed.
Assiotis also said that the use of technology ( emails, facebook, twitter, texts) is also forbidden , adding that he is in touch with the office of Attorney General in order to decide how they will deal with such incidents.
The Chief Returning Officer said that the current economic crisis has affected the budget for the presidential elections, underlining that there has been great effort by all to minimize their costs and to avoid using the whole amount of 8 million that the budget provides for.
Voters are allowed to vote using their voting booklet. Only the enclaved and Cypriot citizens who reside abroad are allowed to vote using their ID card. Voting booklets can be replaced by Saturday at 13.00 (11.00GMT) at the District Administration Offices.
A total of 7,500 state employees and police officers will be employed on Sunday’s elections, including 1,900 unemployed graduates.
The polls open at 7.00 and close at 18.00. In past elections, closing time was an hour earlier. There will be an hour break between 12 and 13.00.
A total of 11 people will contest the elections, including the main three candidates, President of the main opposition right wing party Democratic Rally (Disy) Nicos Anastasiades, who is backed by centre right Democratic Party DIkO, Stavros Malas, who will run having secured the backing of the ruling left wing party Akel, and the independent candidate, former foreign minister, Giorgos Lillikas, who is backed by the socialist party Edek.
Also running are former Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriacou, Georgios Charalambous, Lakis Ioannou , Makaria Andri Stylianou, Andreas Efstratiou, Solon Gregoriou, Loukas Stavrou and Costas Kyriakou-Outopos.
Presidential elections are held every five year in Cyprus. In the last elections which took place in February 2008, Demetris Christofias received 53.37% of the votes while Ioannis Kasoulides who was backed mainly by the Democratic Rally received 46.63%. President Christofiasis not seeking re-election.
Every citizen over the age of 18 has the right to vote. The election of the President is direct, by universal suffrage and secret ballot.
The President’s term in office is for a period of five years starting from the date of his investiture before the House of Representatives. Candidates for election must be citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and over 35 years of age.