Blog : cyprus

Cyprus election: Anastasiades wins presidential race

Cyprus election: Anastasiades wins presidential race

Nicos Anastasiades has won a second five-year term as president of the Republic of Cyprus, official results have shown.

With all the votes counted, the incumbent conservative secured 56 percent on Sunday, comfortably ahead of his rival, Stavros Malas, a leftist-backed independent, at 44 percent.

Anastasiades, 71, is now expected to pick up the pieces of a suspended peace process on the ethnically split island, as well as oversee the economic recovery of a country still bouncing back from a crippling financial crisis.

“My dear friends, I want to thank you from the depths of my heart for the trust and the clear mandate,” Anastasiades told hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside his election campaign headquarters in the centre of the capital, Nicosia.

“A new era begins tomorrow,” he said from the building’s balcony. “People demand cooperation and unity because this is the only way to solve the problems we’re facing.”

Earlier on Sunday, Malas, 50, had called Anastasiades to congratulate him for his re-election.

“The people have spoken, and we respect their decision,” he said in a speech at his election campaign headquarters.

The result was in line with exit polls, which had put support for Anastasiades at an average of 57 percent, within a range of 54.5 percent to 59.5 percent.

Abstention stood at 26 percent.

Cyprus elections

Backed by the right-wing Democratic Rally party, Anastasiades is a prominent figure in the Greek Cypriot political old guard.

His victory sparked scenes of celebration at his campaign headquarters, where jubilant supporters chanted slogans, blared horns and waved Cypriot, Greek and party flags.

“The result is a cause for optimism for the future,” Ioannis Hasikos, a 35-year-old lawyer, said.

“Over the past five years, the country achieved stability and people have decided to continue on the same path.”

Anastasiades ran a campaign emphasising the recovery of Cyprus’ economy from the state of near collapse it was in during the first days of his presidency, after taking over from the communist party AKEL in 2013.

In 2016, the country successfully exited a three-year international programme that saw it implementing tough economic measures in exchange for a multibillion-dollar bailout.

Under the terms of its contentious rescue programme, Nicosia agreed to shut down the island’s second-largest lender, Laiki, while Bank of Cyprus depositors were forced to forfeit nearly 50 percent of their savings that were over 100,000 euro ($124,000).

For his part, AKEL-backed Malas focused his campaign on the need for a new economic policy that would guarantee labour and social rights.


Island’s first casino resort to open its doors in 2021

Island’s first casino resort to open its doors in 2021

By 2021, Cyprus’ first integrated casino resort will open its doors to the public, in an investment totaling €550m, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Presenting the finalised plan to a packed conference hall at the presidential palace, representatives from the Melco-CNS consortium showcased the multi-million project, dubbed City of Dreams – Mediterranean, set to attract 300,000 tourists per year and creating around 11,000 jobs.

Set to be built in Zakaki, west of Limassol, the resort will include a gaming area with 136 tables and 1,200 gaming machines and 9,600 square metres of MICE facilities (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions).

The resort will also feature a five-star hotel with luxury villas and 500 hotel rooms, 11 restaurants and cafeterias, a retail area, wellness centre and sports centre.

A temporary casino in Limassol and four satellite casinos in Nicosia, Larnaca, the Famagusta area and Paphos will begin operations in the first half of 2018.

President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday hailed the investment, saying it was an impressive and ambitious project that the government had made efforts to attract shortly after the financial crisis in March 2013 “after we concluded that the benefits for the country certainly outnumber any negative consequences.”

It will be the top integrated casino resort in Europe and one of the best in the world, he added.

According to an economic impact study prepared by PwC, the impact to Cyprus’ economy after the second year of the casino’s operation will reach approximately €700m per year, around four per cent of the country’s annual GDP.

The casino will tackle seasonal tourism making the industry stronger all year round, Anastasiades said which alone will impact Cyprus’ economy with €276m annually two years after the casino’s operations which will in turn create 2,100 jobs.

The project will also increase the duration of tourists’ visit and attract foreign investment to the island.

Chairman and Melco CEO Lawrence Ho said “I am proud that the Cypriot government has entrusted Melco and CNS to build Cyprus’ first integrated resort which will place Cyprus on the world tourism map and attract visitors not just from the surrounding region but also from the whole of Europe and around the world.”

He added this was the first time the brand was working outside of Asia and “growing tourism in Cyprus is our number one priority.”

“We really do live and die by our efforts to be different,” Ho told the packed conference hall.

The designs of every casino resort Melco undertakes are uniquely catered to each jurisdiction and in the case of Cyprus, the City of Dreams Mediterranean has been styled based on the old town Nicosia area resembling a village feel.

Surrounded by greenery and large trees, interior designers are creating a luxurious interior with extravagant but a calm serene feeling surrounding the complex with people waking up feeling they are on a village overlooking the hills, the promoters said.

The integrated casino resorts Cyprus consortium is comprised of Melco Resorts & Entertainment and the Cyprus Phassouri Zakaki Limited, member of the CNS Group.

Their project was shortlisted from a total of eight bids and the masterplan was submitted on December 22.

Safeguards have been put in place such as the minimum age requirement of 21, Anastasiades said while several training courses are running on the island to prepare for the job openings that will follow.

The complex will feature an extensive pool area with river woods and surf pools, a high-end retail area, an outdoor amphitheatre and three ballrooms as well as a convention expo centre.


Saipem drillship arrives for exploration in block 6

Saipem drillship arrives for exploration in block 6

THE Saipem 12000 deepwater drillship has arrived at the target in block 6 where later this week it is scheduled to commence drilling an exploratory gas well.

Energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis tweeted on Wednesday: “Saipem 12K, welcome to #Cyprus #EEZ. Calypso awaits… Best of success @ENI and @TOTAL.”

The drillship has been leased by the consortium of ENI and Total which have the licence for block 6.

It arrived at the target site, dubbed ‘Calypso’, around 11pm on Tuesday, slightly ahead of schedule. Reports said that during its final stretch, the vessel approached block 6 from the south, heading northward into Cypriot waters from Egypt’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The final approach route may have been a tactical manoeuvre to avoid complications with the Turkish navy patrolling the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, claims that block 6 partially falls within the outer limits of its continental shelf in the eastern Mediterranean.

According to daily Phileleftheros, after the Saipem 12000 had entered the Republic’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Area of Responsibility, a Turkish warship was spotted at a considerable distance. The Turkish vessel made no contact or attempt to intercept the drillship.

The operations in block 6 are expected to wrap up by early February 2018, after which the drillship will almost immediately head to block 3 – also licensed to ENI – for another exploratory drill. The target in block 3 is codenamed ‘Soupia’ (cuttlefish).

Also on Tuesday, the Turkish research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa set a course for the Cypriot EEZ.

The Marine Traffic website does not report a precise destination for the Barbaros.

Meanwhile, a drillship leased by Turkey was on Wednesday making its way through the Mediterranean.

At the time of writing, the DeepSea Metro II was just clearing the southern coast of Sicily. The vessel’s destination is Istanbul, with an estimated time of arrival there of December 31.

Turkish government officials have repeatedly made noises about plans to drill for gas in the eastern Mediterranean – without specifying where.

ENI have previously carried out two unsuccessful drills in their block 9 Cyprus concession, in late 2014 and early 2015.

In the summer of 2017, an exploratory well drilled in block 11 (ENI and Total) came up with approximately half a trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, deemed not commercially viable.

To date, the Aphrodite field in block 12 is the only commercially exploitable play with an estimated 4.5 tcf of natural gas.

In the summer of 2018, the consortium comprising ExxonMobil and Qatar will be drilling two exploratory wells in their block 10 license.


Energy sector developments brewing in Cyprus

Energy sector developments brewing in Cyprus

This autumn will be full of developments in Cyprus’ energy sector, with the results of the West Capella drilling in block 11 set to be announced in September.

At the same time, the Eastmed pipeline, aspired to connect Israel, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy, will be discussed at a four-member ministerial meeting on December 5 in Nicosia. Informed sources expect that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the meeting.

Italian energy company ENI is still considering its options for drilling, having blocks 3, 6, and 8 to choose from. The most important factor in the company’s decision will be the results of three-dimensional surveys which were conducted recently and are currently being processed.

In addition, on September 6 an Exxon Mobil press conference will take place at the Famagusta Gate in Nicosia. The company, which is licensed for exploration in block 10, will present its international energy prospects and the energy programme of the company in the Cyprus EEZ.