Leaders of a major Cyprus political party decided Tuesday that they won’t support either the incumbent or his left-wing challenger in the runoff of the country’s presidential election. The executive bureau of center-right DIKO said that endorsing either President Nicos Anastasiades or independent Stavros Malas would be a reversal of the party’s stance on reunification talks with the divided nation’s breakaway Turkish Cypriots. The party’s candidate in the election’s first round on Sunday advocated a tougher line in the peace talks, saying Anastasiades and Malas would concede too much to the Turkish side.
The bureau says backing either runoff contender would diminish DIKO’s credibility and be “disrespectful” to voters who cast ballots for party leader Nicholas Papadopoulos. He received more than one-quarter of the vote.
DIKO’s central committee is expected to ratify the bureau’s decision, which throws an element of uncertainty into the Feb. 4 runoff.