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Cyprus President Re-elected In Office.




 

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday won re-election for a second term, seeing off a leftist challenger with vows to restart talks to unify the island and cement an economic recovery.

The official final result after a second round run-off put the conservative incumbent on 55.99 percent of the vote in the Greek-majority European Union member, ahead of Communist-backed Stavros Malas on 44 percent.

Apathy has been on the rise after a lacklustre campaign — especially among young voters — and the final official turnout stood at 73 percent.

Jubilant supporters of Anastasiades began to gather at the inauguration venue in Nicosia ahead of a swearing-in ceremony.

“I was confidant because people could see all he has done during the past five years and see that he is the man the country needs,” lawyer Christina Zikkou told AFP.

Defeated Malas said the result was “disappointing but we have to accept it”.

“The struggle for social justice and the Cyprus problem does not end with these elections…our fight is not lost,” he said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker congratulated Anastasiades and said he hoped the victor would “continue to pursue… the policies that have steered Cyprus on the path of economic growth.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to assure you that I stand ready as ever to assist in the efforts to bring to an end the division of the island and achieve the reunification of Cyprus,” Juncker said in a message.

– Reunification push? –

As ever, the nearly 44-year division of the eastern Mediterranean island between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus in the south and a Turkish-backed statelet in the north loomed large over the vote.

Anastasiades, 71, has pledged fresh talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci despite the acrimonious collapse last July of UN-backed negotiations that came closer than ever to sealing a deal.

Dovish former health minister Malas, 50, had slammed his opponent for not going far enough to achieve a deal — but voters appeared unwilling to take the risk on the challenger.

Despite the promises of a new peace push, there is deep scepticism that any progress can be made to overcome issues including the presence of 40,000 Turkish troops in the north.

Relations between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides remain tense, and there is little sign that a nationalist government in Ankara will be willing to budge.

“The wider political framework in which this president comes to power is not conducive for a settlement,” said University of Nicosia professor Hubert Faustmann. (AFP)

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