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Biographies of the seven candidates

Seven candidates for Cyprus presidential elections

Nicosia, Jan 9 (CNA) -- Seven men submitted officially Friday their candidacies for next month's presidential election.

They all called for unity and an atmosphere of calm to prevail until the elections of February 8, 1998.

The candidacies will be considered final at 1800 local hours (1600 GMT) today when the time for any objections to be submitted will expire and the Chief Returning Officer, Thanos Michael, will announce the final names for the election ballot. Michael said the whole procedure ran smoothly.

More than 400.000 Cypriots are eligible to vote in February's elections. For the first time, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18. Voting is compulsory in Cyprus.

The seven hopefuls arrived separately at the International centre in Nicosia accompanied by nine electors each to back their nominations. They paid a 1.000-pound deposit each, which will be returned to candidates who will manage to gather more than 10 per cent of the vote.

George Iacovou, former Foreign Minister of the governments of Spyros Kyprianou and George Vassiliou, was the first to arrive at the Conference Centre. He is backed by leftwing AKEL party and the centre-right Democratic Party (DEKO), until recently a partner in the government of President Glafcos Clerides.

In statements, Iacovou said he is fully aware of the responsibilities he is undertaking and conveyed a message to "struggle with prudence, determination, acquiescence and assertion to promote the interests of Cyprus and its people".

He pledged to create the necessary conditions for initiatives which would aim to secure fundamental principles, human rights and freedoms.

Former President and President of the United Democrats, George Vassiliou, was the second to submit his nomination, calling on Cypriot voters to "realise the problems, the difficulties and the challenges of the next years and choose according to their experience" and preferences and not be guided by party instructions.

Referring to the climate which has dominated the pre-election period, Vassiliou said he would insist on democratic principles and an exchange of views and not accusations.

The third nomination came from incumbent President, Glafcos Clerides, who looked optimistic, declaring that he has "complete faith in the judgement of the Cypriot voters".

The President of the ruling Democratic Rally Party (DISY) which backs Clerides, Nicos Anastasiades, said it was an honour for him to propose Clerides as a candidate.

Liberal Party leader, Nicos Rolandis, a former Foreign Minister under Kyprianou, acknowledged the responsibility which his nomination bears.

He described his candidacy as a "candidacy of truth" and called on all those who believe in him to support him so that he would be able to transform his vision into reality.

Socialist EDEK President, Vassos Lyssarides, former House of Representatives President, said his candidacy constitutes "a true alternative proposal to Cypriot hellenism" because it is based on the principles of democratic socialism.

He called for a new strategy regarding the Cyprus problem and urged the people to give his party a regulatory role in the forthcoming elections.

New Horizons President, Nicos Koutsou, flanked by his wife and his two young children, said his candidacy appeals to "young people, both in the mind and age".

His message was that of "optimism because we enter a new phase in the island's political scene where the new generation in politics is claiming a role", he said.

Alexis Galanos, a Democratic Party MP, and former House of Representatives President, was the last to submit his nomination, noting that the nine electors who backed him might not be well known but they believe that the political scene must change.

He said his message is that new people, fresh political ideas and new times are necessary to escape from the political party dominance which has become especially evident in the last months.

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