Election results expected four hours after polling ends
Larnaca, Feb 12 – Chief Returning Officer Lazaros Savides has said that the initial results of this Sunday’s presidential elections are expected around 2030 local time (1330 US EST).
Speaking in Larnaca during a meeting with local election officials, he said in that in the event of a second round of elections the following week, the result is expected slightly earlier, at 2000 local time (1300 US EST).
The three main candidates in the presidential race are incumbent President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos, House President and General Secretary of AKEL Demetris Christofias and former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
“Presiding election officials must be very careful in the exercise of their duties to ensure full compliance with and application of the law in order to avoid any unpleasant circumstance,” Savides said after the meeting.
As electioneering ends at midnight Friday, all three of them are intensifying their campaign with special events, including concerts, increased advertising, door to door visits, delivery of printed material, radio, TV and newspaper interviews.
All three of them believe that they will go through to the run off election. Recent opinion polls give a slight edge to Papadopoulos, but the outcome of the vote, with many voters still undecided or not replying to poll questions, still in the balance.
President Papadopoulos is seeking re-election, for a second term in office, and his main backer is the Democratic Party (DIKO), which he led for a number of years. Mr. Papadopoulos has also secured the support of the Social Democrats Movement EDEK, the European Party and the Ecologists.
Mr. Christofias’ bid for presidency marks the first time AKEL has put forward its own candidate. AKEL, a former coalition partner, announced its decision to contest the elections with Christofias in the summer, after EDEK had made public its support for Papadopoulos’ re-election bid.
Mr. Kasoulides announced his decision to run in late spring 2007 and is backed by the Democratic Rally party.
Former Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous and Euro MP Marios Matsakis have also submitted their bit for presidential elections. In addition to this, Andreas Efstratiou, Costas Kyriakou, Anastasis Michael and Christodoulos Neofytou are also contesting these elections.