Fourteen candidates join race for Cyprus presidency in February vote

Independent presidential candidate Nikos Christodoulides delivers a speech during submitting his candidacy for Cyprus presidential election in Nicosia, Cyprus, January 5. [Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters]

Fourteen candidates formally joined the race on Thursday to become Cyprus's next president in an election next month dominated by the island's decades-old division, irregular migration and corruption scandals.

Cyprus has a presidential system of government and the head of state has wide executive powers.

Opinion polls show Nikos Christodoulides, a former foreign minister, firmly in the lead. Barring a major upset, he will fall short of the 50% threshold in the first round on February 5, leading to a runoff on February 12.

"My candidacy seeks to unite the Cypriot people and not divide it," Christodoulides, 49, told reporters after his nomination, pledging to form a broad-based administration if elected.

Cyprus, with 561,000 registered voters, is a small island with a big problem; it was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek inspired coup...

Continue reading on: