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Conservative Triumphs in Cyprus Presidential Election

  • VOA News

A man votes in the presidential election in southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, February 24, 2013.

A man votes in the presidential election in southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, February 24, 2013.

Conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades won an overwhelming victory in Cyprus' presidential runoff Sunday, boosting hopes he will quickly act on his pledge to seek a bailout deal with international lenders to prevent the country's financial meltdown.

Final election results showed Anastasiades took 57.5 percent of the vote, far ahead of his left-wing rival, the Communist-backed Stavros Malas, who finished with 42.5 percent.

Jubilant supporters celebrated in the capital, Nicosia, as the results came in.

Anastasiades favors a quick deal with foreign creditors, while Malas campaigned on an anti-austerity platform, wary of the harsh measures usually imposed in exchange for a rescue loan.

Cyprus has been caught in a financial crisis aggravated by the situation in Greece.

The government is seeking international help because Cypriot banks suffered huge losses from Greece's sovereign debt restructuring. The island, which has been shut out of international financial markets since May 2011, needs about $22 billion in aid.

Cyprus has been split into an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

Only the 545,000 eligible voters in the south could vote in the election. Many are believed to have cast blank ballots or abstained in protest.
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