17 February 2013 19:58

NIcosia -- Voting is underway to elect a new president of Cyprus, with Chief Returning Officer Andreas Assiotis saying that all polling stations opened on time on Sunday morning and are are operating smoothly.
He said all polling stations in Cyprus opened at 0700 local time (0500 GMT), as well as those in Greece and Bulgaria.
Assiotis noted that his office would be updated on developments continuously.
He furthermore assured that so far there have been no problems or difficulties, and "that is why we are optimistic that we will be able to meet the commitments we have undertaken until the closing of the polling stations and the announcement of results."
Assiotis said the results were expected at around 2000 local time.
A total of 1,139 polling stations are operating for 545,491 voters, of which 311 are on the list of persons enclaved in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic, and 14,441 who will be voting at one of the 40 polling stations abroad.
There are eleven candidates contesting the elections, including two women. The three main candidates are the President of the main opposition Democratic Rally (Disy) party Nicos Anastasiades, who is backed by the centre right Democratic Party (Diko), Stavros Malas, who has secured the support of the ruling left wing party AKEL and Giorgos Lillikas, former foreign minister who is backed by the socialist Edek party and others.
The rest of the presidential hopefuls are: Praxoula Antoniadou Kyriakou, Georgios Charalambous, Lakis Ioannou, Makaria Antri Stylianou, Loucas Stavrou, Solon Gregoriou, Andreas Efstratiou, and Costas (Utopos) Kyriakou.
If no candidate secures 50% plus one vote there will be a run-off next Sunday between the two front runners


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