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Cyprus presidential debate a television turnoff: report

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Cyprus' upcoming presidential elections are a television turnoff, local media said Wednesday, after the only live debate between main contenders had people switching to other programmes.

Monday's first and only live television debate featuring the five main presidential candidates barely attracted nine percent of the population at its peak, Politis newspaper said.

Apathy has appeared high in the run-up to the presidential polls on January 28, which could determine if peace talks are relaunched to reunify the divided Mediterranean island.

Negotiations between the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus and a Turkish Cypriot statelet in the north of the island collapsed last year.

The televised debate was broadcast live on the country's five major terrestrial channels, but none of them managed to attract viewers in significant numbers.

The figures were worse than those for the 2013 presidential election debates.

Cypriots instead watched other shows, including Turkish soap opera "Love and Punishment", which was the third most-watched programme at the time of the debate.

Viewers aged between 18 and 44 were the least interested in the debate, although some caught the end on one channel while waiting for the popular reality show "Survivor" to begin.

The debate was popular among the over-55s.

President Nicos Anastasiades is the front-runner to win the election, with opinion polls making him favourite. If he won, it would be his second and last term in office.

The 71-year-old conservative, however, looks unlikely to win the first round outright.

He is expected to face a run-off on February 4 against either communist-backed Stavros Malas or Nicolas Papadopoulos, a former president's son who takes a tougher line on peace efforts.

Cyprus’ upcoming presidential elections are a television turnoff, local media said Wednesday, after the only live debate between main contenders had people switching to other programmes.

Monday’s first and only live television debate featuring the five main presidential candidates barely attracted nine percent of the population at its peak, Politis newspaper said.

Apathy has appeared high in the run-up to the presidential polls on January 28, which could determine if peace talks are relaunched to reunify the divided Mediterranean island.

Negotiations between the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus and a Turkish Cypriot statelet in the north of the island collapsed last year.

The televised debate was broadcast live on the country’s five major terrestrial channels, but none of them managed to attract viewers in significant numbers.

The figures were worse than those for the 2013 presidential election debates.

Cypriots instead watched other shows, including Turkish soap opera “Love and Punishment”, which was the third most-watched programme at the time of the debate.

Viewers aged between 18 and 44 were the least interested in the debate, although some caught the end on one channel while waiting for the popular reality show “Survivor” to begin.

The debate was popular among the over-55s.

President Nicos Anastasiades is the front-runner to win the election, with opinion polls making him favourite. If he won, it would be his second and last term in office.

The 71-year-old conservative, however, looks unlikely to win the first round outright.

He is expected to face a run-off on February 4 against either communist-backed Stavros Malas or Nicolas Papadopoulos, a former president’s son who takes a tougher line on peace efforts.

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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