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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-28

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Opinion polls assess trends among electorate
  • [02] Turkey should blame herself not EU, says Kinkel

  • 1130:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Opinion polls assess trends among electorate

    Nicosia, Jan 28 (CNA) -- With only ten days to go before the presidential elections, opinion polls are in full swing and most of them predict the outcome of the elections will be too close to call.

    The two front-runners, incumbent President Glafcos Clerides, backed by the largest party, and independent candidate George Iacovou, supported by the second and third largest parties, are running neck and neck according to the latest results of three opinion polls, released in the past week or so.

    Two of the polls give Clerides a narrow lead over his rival Iacovou, whereas the third poll places Iacovou slightly ahead in the second and final round of the presidential race on 15 February. The first round will be held on February 8.

    Looming on the horizon is also the possibility of conducting exit polls on election day for the first time.

    Various organisations, including private TV networks, have said they would publish the results of new opinion polls leading up to the elections, which are contested by a record number of seven presidential hopefuls.

    The latest poll, conducted between 8-18 January among a sample of 1,200 voters around the island and commissioned by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, said Clerides would get 41.9 per cent of the vote and Iacovou 37.1 per cent.

    Over 10 per cent of those asked are still undecided and a 4.2 per cent said they would cast a blank vote.

    According to this poll the vast majority of the former coalition partner Democratic Party intend to back Clerides, and ignore party calls to vote for Iacovou.

    Another interesting indicator the poll has shown is that most first time voters, 18-year-olds, said they would vote for Clerides, a man almost four times their age.

    The poll gives Socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides 9.9 per cent of the vote, former DIKO vice president Alexis Galanos 4.8 per cent, former Cyprus president George Vassiliou 4.3 per cent, New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou 2 per cent and Liberals leader Nicos Rolandis 0.1 per cent.

    None of these candidates is expected to go on to the second round, which will decide the next President of the Republic on the basis of 50 plus share of the vote.

    A second poll, commissioned by Antenna TV among 803 people, predicts that Clerides would beat Iacovou by just 0.1 per cent in the second round.

    The same poll says Lyssarides would get 8.6 per cent in the first ballot, Vassiliou 5 per cent, Galanos 3.7 per cent, Rolandis 1 per cent and Koutsou 1.3 per cent.

    More than five per cent of those questioned said they do not know who to vote for and over 2 per cent said they would cast blank votes.

    The Antenna poll also said most voters polled endorse Clerides' strategy on the Cyprus question and efforts to join the European Union and see the 78-year-old president as the best man to lead the country.

    An earlier poll, released on 20 January, said Iacovou would be the next president with 43.84 per cent of the vote against 42.12 per cent for Clerides.

    The poll was conducted between 10-17 January among 750 people islandwide, 5 per cent of whom refused to participate.

    Over 2 per cent said they would not vote for any of the two front- runners and more than 11 per cent said they had not decided.

    According to the Marketing Research Bureau, which carried out the poll, it was not commissioned by any political party or candidate.

    The poll also showed that Iacovou would be the winner in the first ballot as well, with a very narrow margin.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [02] Turkey should blame herself not EU, says Kinkel

    Nicosia, Jan 28 (CNA) -- Germany strongly criticised Turkey on Tuesday for illegally occupying the northern part of Cyprus and for causing the Kurdish problem, the Athens news agency (ANA) reported.

    According to ANA, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem gave a joint press conference in Bonn yesterday, where reference to the Cyprus question blew up their obvious efforts to soothe climate on the two countries' existing differences.

    In his opening statement Kinkel referred to the European Union (EU) decision to start accession talks with Cyprus on March 30 and his call on Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos to contribute to finding a formula for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the talks.

    Cem said the Cyprus problem was a very difficult one and insisted on the acceptance of equality of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides and the recognition of the breakaway state in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    Cem's repeated allegations about discrimination policy by the EU against Turkey annoyed the German Foreign Minister, according to ANA.

    Kinkel said the Union could not be blamed for all the problems caused by Turkey, which eventually put her in a decisively different position than the rest candidate countries for EU accession.

    He said Turkey had to resolve its problem with Cyprus, Kurds, and human rights if it wanted to gain membership.

    "The EU countries can't do anything about it if Turkey has illegally occupied northern Cyprus or if it cannot find a way to resolve the issue with Kurds," Kinkel was quoted by ANA as saying to the Turkish Foreign Minister.

    Cem said "it was unfair" that Turkey had been "singled out" at the last EU Summit, where its leaders deferred Turkish membership.

    "Hopefully there will be a solution within the next few months," he said, and urged the EU to open its doors to Ankara by the next Summit, to be held in Cardiff, in June.

    On his part, Kinkel said the EU had made Turkey a fair offer and that the country could some day join the Union. "The door will remain open," he added.

    ANA reported that talks between Kinkel and Cem ended inconclusively with regard to the gap in the relations between Turkey and the EU.

    The Luxembourg EU Summit decided last month to invite Cyprus and five other countries for EU membership talks in the Union's first wave of enlargement.

    In response to this decision, Turkey said it would stop the political dialogue with the EU and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has threatened not to attend the next round of UN-sponsored peace talks on Cyprus, unless his illegal state is recognised.

    It is still uncertain whether Turkey will attend the European Conference, to be held on March 12 in London with all candidate countries.

    Council President, Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary of Britain, currently holding the six-month rotating EU presidency, said yesterday the "door is open for Turkey."

    He announced that British Premier's representative for Turkey, Sir David Hannay, will be visiting Ankara for talks with officials of the Turkish government later this week.

    CNA AP/GP/1998
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