The result of the first round of the presidential elections is reflected in the international press. Foreign news media focus on the winners of the first round, noting the CVs of Nikos Christodoulides and Andreas Mavroyiannis and the challenges Cyprus faces in the next period.
The American "Politico", focusing on the result of the first round, reported "the 49-year-old Christodoulides served as government spokesman and then foreign minister under Anastasiades. He broke ranks with his own party DISY and its leader, Averof Neofytou, thus splitting the conservative vote."
The publication continues noting that "he is considered a hardliner regarding the Cyprus reunification issue and is also backed by centrist parties and parties less flexible in the reunification talks."
On Mavroyiannis, it reads that he is 66 years of age, "was Anastasiades’ chief negotiator in reunification talks with Turkish Cypriots. Before that, he served as Cypriot ambassador to the United Nations, France, and Ireland. During the campaign, he promised to turn the page and change Cyprus’ tarnished image, as well as to focus on restarting reunification talks."
Reporting the result of the first round, the British financial newspaper Financial Times reported that "analysts said Cyprus’s “clientelistic” approach to politics had intensified during the campaign in the Greek Cypriot south of the island, which has a population of just 1.2mn people."
"The new president and his government will be expected to tackle challenges including high inflation, the rising cost of living, the restart of deadlocked negotiations with Turkish Cypriots, and the urgent need to upgrade the island’s power grid," FT add.
Another British newspaper, the Guardian, reported that "Nikos Christodoulides emerges as the front-runner (in the presidential election) and will face Andreas Mavroyiannis in next Sunday's vote". In the report, the newspaper added that "Christodoulides, who broke away from Disy to run his own campaign with the aid of parties traditionally tough on talks to solve the country’s decades-old division, had been tipped to emerge as the victor although it had been predicted the first-round poll would not produce a clear winner."
The French news website "Rfi", reporting the result of the first round of the presidential election, highlighted: "The migration issue intensifies the Cypriot politicians' headache. The Republic of Cypriot has one of the highest rates of asylum seekers in the European Union as a proportion of its population."
Cyprus, it says, "accuses the North of letting migrants cross the line once they arrive on the island from Turkey. But how can the green line be closed without dividing the island? The other emergency is inflation and economic and social difficulties. Cyprus must also fight against corruption that persists".
Spanish news website Publico reported that "former foreign minister and independent candidate Nikos Christodoulides won the first round of the presidential election in Cyprus on Sunday. His rival for the head of state will be the independent candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis, who has a lead over the third candidate, the leader of the conservative DISY party, Averof Neophytou."
German website Tagesschau, reporting on the first round of the presidential election, commented that "the first task of the new head of state will be to revive talks to overcome the division of the Mediterranean island, which have been stalled since 2017. The northern part has only been recognised by the Ankara government. Therefore, elections were held only in the southern part of the island. The North does not participate in the political life of the south."
"The new president should also dedicate himself to fighting nepotism. In addition, the increasing number of asylum seekers is considered a problem," the website says.
On the result of the first round of the presidential election, the Arabic network Al Jazeera reported that "Cypriots will expect the new president to quickly move to buttress an economy buffeted by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its knock-on effect on the cost of living. Migration has also been a hot-button issue amid a continued influx of asylum seekers that has made Cyprus one of the top European Union countries in terms of asylum applications per capita."
"Capitalising on Cyprus’ offshore natural gas deposits amid an energy crunch and getting back to the negotiating table with breakaway Turkish Cypriots to resolve the island’s ethnic division are also priority issues", it adds.
China's Xinhua News Agency on Sunday night reported that "the former Cypriot foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides took the lead in Cyprus' presidential election on Sunday, and will face off with Andreas Mavroyiannis, who came second, in a runoff on Feb. 12. Christodoulides, who ran as an independent, garnered 32.04 percent of the vote, and Mavroyiannis, who also ran as an independent and supported by the left-wing AKEL party, garnered 29.61 percent of the vote. Averof Neophytou, leader of the ruling DISY party, ended third with 26.11 percent of the vote and was thus left out of the presidential race, ending the party's ten-year-long hold on power in the eastern Mediterranean island".
"Christodoulides served for four years as spokesman for Anastasiades and then as his foreign minister for another four years. Mavroyiannis, a diplomat at the foreign ministry, had been Anastasiades' negotiator in peace talks with Turkish Cypriots for a settlement to the Cyprus problem. Political analysts said that the two presidential hopefuls would start wooing DISY voters for their support ahead of the runoff vote," the Chinese news agency adds.