Cyprus Polls Show Anastasiades as Most Convincing Candidate

Nicos Anastasiades, leader of the main opposition party DISY, was the most convincing candidate in the first televised debate among the three main contenders in Cyprus’s presidential elections, two polls showed today.

Anastasiades was the most convincing speaker for 49 percent of viewers participating in a Mega TV survey. He was followed by 35 percent for independent George Lillikas and 15 percent for Stavros Malas, who’s backed by the communist Akel party of Cypriot President Demetris Christofias. The poll was conducted via the broadcaster’s website during the two-hour debate late yesterday, Mega said, without specifying the number of respondents.

In a similar poll by Sigma TV, also conducted via its website during the discussion, 42.2 percent of its viewers said Anastasiades was the most convincing compared with 20.6 percent for Lillikas and 17.5 percent for Malas. Sigma also didn’t say how many viewers took part in the poll.

Cyprus is in negotiations with European partners and the International Monetary Fund for a bailout that could approach the size of its roughly 18 billion-euro ($24 billion) economy, after becoming last June the fifth euro state to seek aid. Negotiations are “far from the stage at which we can make a decision,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Jan. 11 during a trip to Cyprus where she threw her support behind Anastasiades, who is a fellow member of the European People’s Party.

With the first round of the Cyprus presidential elections scheduled for Feb. 17 and a second round for Feb. 24, in the event there’s no outright winner in the first ballot, the country’s next president may be the person who will sign the bailout agreement.

While viewers in the Sigma poll found Anastasiades the most convincing candidate, 36 percent said Lillikas, a former foreign and commerce minister, was the overall winner compared with 34 percent for Malas and 29 percent for Anastasiades.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.