Poll: Cyprus president gets thumbs-down for troika, gov’t

More than two-thirds of Cypriots have given the island’s leftist president the thumbs-down in an opinion poll, putting the opposition firmly in the lead ahead of general elections in February.

Most respondents believed right-wing opposition leader Nicos Anastasiades would win Cyprus’ February 2013 presidential elections in a runoff against either of his opponents, according to a poll commissioned by the state broadcaster, CyBC, and aired late on Thursday.

Anastasiades, head of the Democratic Rally party, has consistently topped opinion polls. His opponents are independent candidate George Lilikas, a former foreign minister, and Stavros Malas, backed by the ruling Communist party.

In a first round of voting Anastasiades would poll 36.8

percent of the vote, and anything between 44.6 percent and 38.8

percent depending on his challenger in the second round, the CyBC survey said.

Cyprus has a presidential system of governance and elections are held every five years. Most respondents said they trusted the church and the media more than they trusted politicians.

The poll made grim reading for Demetris Christofias, Cyprus’s incumbent president. Some 79 percent of 1,205 respondents said they were «not, or not so satisfied» with his performance.

Christofias, once the island’s most popular politician, has seen his ratings plunge on the back of the worst recession in four decades, and the botched handling of Cyprus’s worst peace-time disaster when confiscated Iranian munitions accidentally blew up the island’s largest power station in July 2011.

He also took brickbats for the way he was conducting talks with prospective international creditors, with 71 percent saying they were not happy. He has said he is not seeking re-election.

Cyprus sought financial aid from its EU partners and the IMF in June after its banking sector reported huge losses from Greece’s debt write-down. A third round of discussions with lenders started on Nov. 9. [Reuters]

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