17 February 2013 19:58

 Nicosia – Accompanied by friends and family, the three leading candidates in Sunday’s presidential elections cast their ballots at different polling stations before midday. 
With campaigning is strictly prohibited, Nicos Anastasiades, Stavros Malas and Yiorgos Lillikas highlighed the importance of the elections, given the economic crisis and the bailout talks the new president will be called to deal with immediately on being sworn in.
Casting his vote in Limassol, Disy president Nicos Anastasiades described the poll as the most crucial elections, since the survival of the country was at stake.
He said people were voting "in the most crucial elections, which will determine whether, with a strong mandate, the government of national salvation will address the problems of the economy, the problems faced by every Cypriot citizen, and without doubt the Cyprus problem."
Anastasiades expressed hope that the citizens would not choose political parties and ideologies but would vote having in mind the country.
"As of tomorrow there are no leftists, rightists, socialists, centrists or any ideology or any colour," he said, adding that the main aim would be to manage the unprecedented financial crisis.
Asked what the stakes were, Anastasiades referred to "the survival of our homeland and not the survival of any political party or politician."
Candidate Stavros Malas, who is backed by Akel, voted in Lakatamia. He spoke of a historic election and said that last night he had had a telephone conversation with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, to whom he expressed his great concern for all that is being said about Cyprus and the processes underway.
More specifically, he added, about allegations that Cyprus is a centre of money laundering and about the effort to assign a private company to investigate these issues.
Malas noted that Schultz has taken into consideration everything that he told him and expressed certainty that he will transfer them to the European Parliament.
“We have really closed a very long campaign. This is the moment of all citizens to deliver the final verdict. I am very convinced that the Cypriot people will vote today with their conscience and this contest, I am sure, will have to deliver the best result”, Malas noted.
He said that this was a long campaign “and I am sure everybody wants to deliver their contribution to this historic chapter that is opening for Cyprus.”
“Whatever the result, people will look back at this election campaign and the result, and will definitely evaluate it as the most important milestone in the history of Cyprus,” Malas concluded.
Independent Yiorgos Lillikas, who is backed by Socialist Edek, described today’s elections as the most important elections of the past decade."
Speaking after casting his vote at a polling station in Nicosia, Lillikas thanked all those who have worked and are working for smooth presidential elections, and congratulated the citizens who have shown high political ethos, which led to a smooth pre-election campaign without fanaticism.
He said "the power belongs to the citizens" and that "it is the citizens, with their decision, who give meaning and content to democracy."
"With their decision, the citizens will determine the future and the course of our homeland in the Cyprus problem and the issues of the economy and society," he said, adding that the citizens will decide "if we will return to practices of the past, if they will allow the continuation of those practices that disappointed them."
Lillikas said that "together we can have the citizens as leaders, we can bring hope back to our land, we can bring economic growth, together we can mark a new course with national dignity for the solution of the Cyprus problem."


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