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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
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
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.