Cyprus presidential candidates push leadership credentials

(L-R) Cypriot presidential candidates Andreas Mavroyiannis, Nikos Christodoulides, and Averof Neofytou take part in a televised debate in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 1 February 2023. [Katia Christodoulou/EPA]

The three front-runners vying for the presidency of ethnically split Cyprus wound down their campaigns Friday, putting pronouncements of their leadership credentials ahead of issues two days before the election.

Opinion polls indicate that none of the three, who are all close associates of outgoing President Nicos Anastasiades, will muster more than half of the vote — the bar for an outright win in Sunday's voting.

The top two finishers will likely face each other in a runoff election a week later. Some 561,000 citizens are eligible to vote.

Averof Neophytou, 61, who took over the leadership of the country's Democratic Rally party from Anastasiades, doubled down on his "safe choice" campaign theme, portraying himself as a steady hand with a surfeit of experience who can get things done.

"I've also understood that those who profess to usher in change will...

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