Greek-Cypriots vote for President
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Polls have already closed on the Republic of Cyprus in a quite important closely fought presidential election. Official results are expected in a few hours, and two exit polls suggest the three leading candidates, current President Tassos Papadopoulos, Dimitris Christofias, Ioannis Kasoulides are neck-and-neck. An exit poll on state television (RIK) gave each candidate around a third of the vote, with left-wing's AKEL party leader Dimitris Christofias, marginally ahead. However, another exit poll for the TV channel Mega suggested that president Papadopoulos is ahead of the other two candidates.
Mr.Papadopoulos, a lawyer and convervative politician, became President of the Greek-controlled Republic of Cyprus in 2003. He had expressed his strong opposition to the 2004 UN plan for re-unification of the island and urged Greek Cypriots to vote against the plan in a referendum which took place on March 2004. Cypriot voters are calculated to around 570,000 across the south of the island, most of them voting in four major cities, Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos.
Cyprus is a divided island since 1974, after the Turkish military invasion in the north. Since then, the island remains divided in two parts, the Greek south Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish north (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). The Greek-controlled Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union since 2004 and a member of the euro zone since January 1, 2008.