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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Run-off election gets underway
  • [02] Voting continues smoothly
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot hands over revolver at check point
  • [04] Contenders express optimism about election results
  • [05] Police questioning Turkish Cypriot
  • [06] More than half Cypriots vote by midday
  • [07] Party leaders cast their vote
  • [08] Enclaved people vote in election runoff

  • 0750:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Run-off election gets underway

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriots are going to the polls again today for the second consecutive Sunday to elect the new President for a five- year term.

    Voting among the 446.732 registered Cypriots began at 07.00 a.m. local time (05.00 GMT) and people are called to choose between incumbent President, Glafcos Clerides, 78, and former Foreign Minister, George Iacovou, 60.

    According to the Republic's constitution, Greek Cypriots elect the president and Turkish Cypriots the vice president, a position vacant since the Turkish Cypriots withdrew from the government in the early 1960s.

    The election result is too close to call as in the first round Iacovou was ahead of Clerides by 2.155 votes or 0.54 per cent.

    Iacovou, supported by left-wing AKEL and centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO), gained a marginal lead of 40,66 per cent or 160.918 votes.

    Clerides, backed by the Democratic Rally party, received 40,05 per cent or 158.763 votes.

    Four out of the five presidential hopefuls, who did not make it to the second round, announced this week they would back Clerides' bid for re- election.

    The United Democrats with 3 per cent, the New Horizons with 0,91 per cent, the Liberals 0,78 percent and Alexis Galanos, with 4,04 per cent, who stood as an independent after breaking ranks with DIKO will all support Clerides.

    Socialist EDEK party, whose president Vassos Lyssarides managed to gain a pivotal 10,6 percent of the vote, has asked its supporters to vote at will.

    Voting, which is mandatory, is taking place at over 1000 polling stations in all five districts of the government controlled areas of the Republic.

    More than 3.000 police officers are on duty today to ensure everything runs smoothly.

    When voting ends at 17.00 (15.00 GMT), ballot boxes will be taken to the local counting centres in each district, where party representatives and civil servants will begin the count.

    The final result of the vote is expected to be made known around 23.00 local time and the new President will be formally announced later.

    CNA MA/MM/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0945:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Voting continues smoothly

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Voting continues smoothly in the crucial second round of the presidential elections in Cyprus.

    Chief Returning Officer, Thanos Michael, told CNA Sunday that there were no reports of any incidents at polling stations which opened at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT).

    He said that the Election Service issued leaflets informing voters how to vote following last Sunday's high percentage of invalid ballots.

    Michael said between 2 - 2.5 per cent of the votes cast, around 9.500 ballots, were invalid.

    He expressed the conviction that the percentage of blank votes and abstentions will be less during today's runoff.

    Michael added around 400 - 500 enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites are expected to come to the free areas to vote. They live under Turkish occupation since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory.

    The Chief Returning Officer criticised the local press for ignoring a ban on publishing reports which directly or indirectly refer to the presidential elections.

    He said the Attorney - General's Office will look into the matter.

    CNA MK/EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1140:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Turkish Cypriot hands over revolver at check point

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus Police and the Attorney-General's office were investigating the case of a Turkish Cypriot, who had in his possession a revolver when he crossed into the government-controlled areas today.

    A Police Press Spokesman told CNA, the Turkish Cypriot, who crossed into the government-controlled areas together with Turkish Cypriot journalists covering today's presidential election runoff, handed over the revolver himself at the Ledra Palace check-point.

    "The case is being investigated by Police in collaboration with the Attorney-General's office", the Press Spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, Justice and Public Order Minister, Nicos Koshis said the Attorney-General's decision on the case was expected later today.

    Turkish Cypriot journalists told CNA that when they asked their colleague why he was carrying a revolver, he replied he had forgotten to leave it in the occupied areas.

    CNA MCH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1220:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Contenders express optimism about election results

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Both contenders in Sunday's election runoff were optimistic that they would win the presidency of the Republic for the next five years.

    Incumbent President, Glafcos Clerides, 78, and independent candidate, George Iacovou, 60, were flanked by their families as they cast their vote.

    Clerides, who won 40.06 per cent of the vote last week, told a group of his supporters outside the polling station "I am optimistic when I see you exercise your right of vote with dignity and respect".

    He urged the people to vote in what he described as "elections of great significance".

    Asked whether he will keep his promise to Socialist Party EDEK which handed a proposal to both Clerides and Iacovou during last week's intense political bargaining, Clerides said:

    "My name is Glafcos Clerides, and there is a saying in Pitsilia (area) where I come from that 'a man's word is what counts'".

    EDEK, although secured a pivotal percentage (10.59) in last's week's round, asked its supporters to vote at will.

    Clerides extended a message of friendship to the Turkish Cypriots.

    He assured Turkish Cypriot reporters, who are covering the elections in the free areas, that "we have to work and shall work all of us, for a just, viable and workable solution of our problem".

    Noting that "we must all look to the future and not to the past", Clerides said if re-elected, he is willing, together with the Turkish Cypriot leadership, "to examine the future and find solutions" to the benefit of both communities and all the people of Cyprus, namely Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins.

    In statements after casting his vote, Iacovou, who mustered 40.61 per cent of the vote in last Sunday's inconclusive round, said he is "optimistic. I trust the Cypriot people and all citizens and look to the future with great optimism".

    Asked if past week's developments favoured his candidacy, Iacovou said "the people virtually rebelled against last week's bargaining and I believe it will favour my candidacy".

    Iacovou pledged he would honour all promises made to EDEK, even though, he said, the party had decided to call on its voters to vote by conscience.

    The former Foreign Minister said what was needed "is unity to face the many problems in the next few months and years to come".

    This unity, Iacovou added, should be based on democratic principles. "I hope we will be given the opportunity to bring this unity to the island", he said.

    Clerides is backed by the rightwing Democratic Rally Party, the United Democrats, the New Horizons, the Liberal Party and Alexis Galanos, who broke ranks with the Democratic Party after this party supported Iacovou.

    On his part, Iacovou is backed by the leftwing AKEL and the centre- right Democratic Party.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1315:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Police questioning Turkish Cypriot

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Police are questioning a Turkish Cypriot who had handed over a revolver when he came to the government-controlled areas of the Republic with a team of Turkish Cypriot journalists covering today's run-off election.

    Justice and Public Order Minister, Nicos Koshis, said the Turkish Cypriot, who has not been named, gave the revolver to a Cyprus Press and Information officer accompanying the journalists.

    He said she had handed the revolver over to the police and added she is also testifying before policemen investigating the incident.

    "When we conclude all testimonies we will send them to the Attorney General, who will decide on the case," Koshis added.

    He said the Turkish Cypriot has a journalist's card.

    CNA MK/MA/MCH/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1320:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] More than half Cypriots vote by midday

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- More than half of some 446.000 Cypriot voters have cast their votes, five hours after 1.023 polling stations opened for the second round of the island's presidential elections.

    The Central Elections Service announced that about 51 per cent of the registered voters had cast their votes since polls opened at 0700 local time (0500 GMT).

    In Nicosia, 52 per cent of the electorate voted by midday, in Limassol 55 per cent, in Larnaca 46 per cent, in Paphos 53 per cent and in Famagusta 47 per cent.

    Voting stopped for an hour at midday and resumed at 1300 local time throughout the government-controlled areas of the Republic.

    The Central Elections Service said the voting was conducted in an orderly and calm manner.

    Polls will close at 1700 local time (1500 GMT) and counting is expected to begin at 1830 local time (1630 GMT) when ballot boxes which will be taken to the local counting centres in each district, will open.

    The final result of the vote is expected to be announced around 2300 local time and the new President will be formally announced after midnight.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1335:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Party leaders cast their vote

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Political party leaders have expressed their wish for national unity to prevail after today's run-off presidential elections, in order to face the difficult times ahead.

    In statements after casting their votes, the opposition party leaders spoke of misconducts during the pre-election period.

    Greek Cypriots are voting between last Sunday's two frontrunners, incumbent President Glafcos Clerides, who got 40,05 percent of the vote, and former Foreign Minister, George Iacovou, who gained a marginal lead of 40,66 percent.

    Right wing Democratic Rally leader, Nicos Anastasiades, expressed certainty the people's choice would be for "a responsible national unity government led by Glafcos Clerides."

    He pointed out that the new government will take over when crucial negotiations for a Cyprus settlement and European Union accession talks with the Republic will begin.

    On his part left-wing AKEL Secretary General, Demetris Christofias, referred to certain "misconducts during the past week which undermine democratic values and procedures."

    He called upon the people of Cyprus "to reply to all those trying to undermine democracy, by voting for George Iacovou".

    Opposition party AKEL and centre right party DIKO are backing Iacovou's bid for election.

    Expressing certainty that Iacovou will be the winner of today's elections, DIKO leader and House of Representatives President, Spyros Kyprianou, was also critical of "incidents violating election rules."

    He refrained from giving further details but said he will reveal them next week, irrespective of the election results.

    Socialist-EDEK leader, Vassos Lyssarides, who garnered a pivotal 10,59 percent of the vote, stressed his party's determination to see that the promises made by the presidential candidates are kept.

    EDEK asked its supporters to vote at will, after both presidential hopefuls agreed in writing to a proposal providing for a government of national unity, strengthening of relations with Greece and other issues concerning domestic policy.

    Describing EDEK's role as "difficult", Lyssarides said his party will act having the national interest in mind.

    United Democrats leader, George Vassiliou, praised the calm atmosphere which prevailed during elections, noting, however, that there have been certain attempts to create a hostile mood against him after he backed Clerides' candidature.

    He stressed that the past should not be forgotten but it should not be allowed to control the future either and called for unity among Greek Cypriots and between the two communities.

    Alexis Galanos, who broke ranks with DIKO and contested the elections as an independent gaining 4,04 percent of the vote, said he was certain Clerides would win.

    However, he noted that whoever is elected president "on Monday we should all work together to face the difficult days that lay ahead".

    Leader of New Horizons party, Nicos Koutsou pointed out that the next three years will be decisive for Cyprus' future and said his party has decided to support Clerides because he accepted to form a national unity government.

    He added that whatever the election result "as from tomorrow we should all work together for the good of Cyprus".

    Liberal Party leader, Nicos Rolandis also expressed certainty that Clerides will be the new President, and pointed out that a US initiative for Cyprus is expected to be launched shortly after the elections.

    CNA MCH/MA/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1410:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] Enclaved people vote in election runoff

    Nicosia, Feb 15 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriots living in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus have expressed the hope that the new President of the Republic will work for the reunification of the island and a better future.

    Over 300 Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops since they invaded in 1974, came to the government-controlled areas to cast their vote in today's election runoff.

    "What else could we ask for but freedom for our country," old Greek Cypriot men and women living under difficult conditions in the occupied areas told CNA.

    The enclaved voted at the Elenion primary school, in Nicosia, where a special polling station was set up.

    Not all the estimated 550 came to vote as most of them are elderly people. Some were young people voting for the first time.

    The enclaved were welcomed by tearful relatives and friends who said their hope is that one day the dividing lines will cease to exist and there will be no barriers between them.

    The Turkish occupation regime does not allow visits by relatives of the enclaved, who mainly live in the Karpass peninsula, in the island's eastern tip.

    It also forces children attending secondary schools to come to the free areas of the Republic as there is only primary schooling in the occupied areas.

    "We want our children to be allowed to come and visit us in our homes and we want to be able to visit our children and grandchildren freely," a middle-aged enclaved woman told CNA.

    An old man said he only wished for "peace, freedom and reunification" while another complained that there are no Turkish Cypriots living in his village but only settlers brought in from Turkey.

    More than 80 thousand Turkish nationals have been transplanted in the Turkish occupied areas as part of Ankara's designs to change the island's demographic character and culture.

    CNA RM/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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