Evagoras Georgiou will go to the polling station at the Tsireio middle school in the St. John neighborhood here for Sunday’s presidential election. But he will leave his ballot blank, voting for neither of the two candidates in the runoff for Cyprus’s most powerful political office. Both candidates have promised to abide by a deal with international lenders that promises to help the country service its debts but that will bring harsh austerity and recession with it. Mr. Georgiou, 28, studied business management in Britain and returned almost a year ago to look for work. He has yet to find a job and says he believes that a deal with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — known collectively as the troika — will only make matters worse. “They both have the same policies but find a way to make the public believe they disagree,” Mr. Georgiou said of the two candidates. “We see that any country with a troika agreement is ridden with debt and has high unemployment of youth.”
What many Cypriots find most frustrating is that their crisis, like those in Ireland and Iceland before them, was concentrated in the banks. There is no sovereign debt crisis and, before the banking collapse, their economy was relatively healthy. Why, they wonder, should they suffer for the misdeeds of a few bankers? Why cover losses that should be borne, at least in part, by private investors?
This small Mediterranean nation goes to the polls at a moment of rising uncertainty and apprehension. Nicos Anastasiades, the leader of the conservative party Democratic Rally, is expected to best Stavros Malas, who is backed by AKEL, the Communist party.