By Azania Post Reporter
TWO Nicosia Presidential contestants will today be voted after last month failure to get a winner. Today’s vote will decide who will stay at the helm, the drum is between the incumbent leader Nicos Anastasiades and Stavros Malas.
Reuters report that polling stations opened at 0500 GMT with exit polls giving a first snapshot of voting when they close at 1600 GMT. Results should be final a little over two hours after voting ends.
During the first round of election last month Anastasiades got 35.51 and Malas 30.24 percent of the vote with the remaining cast among candidates who had taken a harder line than either in peace talks with estranged Turkish Cypriots.
Many voters also preferred to stay away, with the abstention rate at 28 percent.
Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup, and the EU member state hosts one of the world’s longest serving peacekeeping forces with Greek Cypriots in the south, and Turkish Cypriots in the north.
Peace talks collapsed last year over the role that Turkey could play in a post-settlement Cyprus.
Anastasiades, who represented the Greek Cypriot side in those talks, faced criticism at home for either being too concessionary, or, as Malas suggests, tactical blunders in missing one of the best chances in a generation to solve the logjam.
The runners-up from last week’s poll have refused to endorse either candidate, unusual in Cypriot election runoffs where the intervening week between votes is normally used to forge alliances.
“The new president will have a mandate directly from the people and not one via a politician seeking a share of the spoils,” the liberal Cyprus Mail daily wrote in an editorial, lauding the end of a ‘sheep mentality’ which guided voters in the past.
The Turkish military has suffered the deadliest day in its offensive against Kurdish militias inside northern Syria, with seven soldiers killed.
PM Binali Yildirim vowed to make the militias "pay for this twice as much" and jets later struck Kurdish targets north-east of the city of Afrin.
Turkey's "Olive Branch" operation was launched on 20 January to drive the Kurdish YPG militia out of Afrin.
Turkey views the YPG (People's Protection Units) as a terrorist group and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in south-eastern Turkey for three decades.
The military said in a statement that the US-backed YPG attacked the tank in Sheikh Haruz, north-east of Afrin city.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that the Turkish-led forces were taking high ground and would now head towards the city of Afrin itself, saying: "There is not much [further] to go."