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updated: 1/28/2018 2:30 PM

Cyprus president to face leftist independent in runoff

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  • Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades waves to the crowd outside a polling station during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots were voting Sunday for a new president who they hope will overcome years of failure and finally resolve the ethnic divisions that have torn the Mediterranean island-nation into a Greek south and a Turkish north.

    Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades waves to the crowd outside a polling station during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots were voting Sunday for a new president who they hope will overcome years of failure and finally resolve the ethnic divisions that have torn the Mediterranean island-nation into a Greek south and a Turkish north.
    Associated Press

  • Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades makes statements outside a polling station during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades makes statements outside a polling station during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • An elderly woman casts her ballot during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    An elderly woman casts her ballot during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades with his grandchildren votes during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades with his grandchildren votes during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • A woman casts her ballot during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    A woman casts her ballot during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, who is backed by the left-wing AKEL party, votes during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, who is backed by the left-wing AKEL party, votes during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, who is backed by the left-wing AKEL party, votes during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, who is backed by the left-wing AKEL party, votes during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate and leader of the center-right DIKO party Nicolas Papadopoulos escorted by his children casts his ballot in presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate and leader of the center-right DIKO party Nicolas Papadopoulos escorted by his children casts his ballot in presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, is greeted by his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, is greeted by his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.
    Associated Press

  • A woman leaves the booth as she votes in presidential elections in Nicosia, Cyprus Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    A woman leaves the booth as she votes in presidential elections in Nicosia, Cyprus Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • A man votes in presidential election at a polling station in Nicosia, Cyprus Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    A man votes in presidential election at a polling station in Nicosia, Cyprus Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • A man checks his ID number for vote in presidential election at a polling station in Nicosia, Cyprus Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    A man checks his ID number for vote in presidential election at a polling station in Nicosia, Cyprus Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • A woman votes during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    A woman votes during the presidential elections in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate and leader of the center-right DIKO party Nicolas Papadopoulos escorted by his family votes in presidential elections in capital Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate and leader of the center-right DIKO party Nicolas Papadopoulos escorted by his family votes in presidential elections in capital Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades with his grandchildren votes during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades with his grandchildren votes during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades surrounded by media arrives to vote during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

    Cyprus' President and Cypriot Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades surrounded by media arrives to vote during the presidential elections in the southern coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, makes statements to his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, makes statements to his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, makes statements to his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, makes statements to his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.
    Associated Press

  • Supporters of Cyprus' President and Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades, shout slogans in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Stavros Malas, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, finished second with 30.25 percent.

    Supporters of Cyprus' President and Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades, shout slogans in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Stavros Malas, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, finished second with 30.25 percent.
    Associated Press

  • Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, is greeted by his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.

    Cypriot Presidential candidate Stavros Malas, center, who ran as an independent with support from the communist-rooted AKEL party, is greeted by his supporters in Nicosia, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The final tally from Sunday's first round of election showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote as Malas finished second with 30.25 percent.
    Associated Press

 
 

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The president of Cyprus finished first in his race for a second five-year term in office Sunday, but still faces a runoff with a communist-backed candidate he defeated in the last election.

The final ballot tally showed President Nicos Anastasiades garnering 35.5 percent of the vote. Stavros Malas, who ran as an independent with the support of the communist-rooted AKEL party, finished second with 30.25 percent.

Nicholas Papadopoulos, leader of the center-right DIKO party and the son of late Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, trailed in third place with nearly 25.74 percent.

The result means that Anastasiades and Malas will go head-to-head on Feb. 4. The two men also faced each other in the second round of the 2013 presidential election, which Anastasiades went on to win by one of the widest margins in Cypriot election history.

Speaking after the polls closed, Anastasiades expressed his readiness to invite other parties to form a coalition government and repeated a pledge not to seek a third term if he won a second one. The nation's presidency does not carry terms limits.

"What takes precedence is the good of our homeland, to deal with problems with realism and a comprehensive program" Anastasiades said.

Malas told jubilant supporters that his campaign was based on straight talk. He pleaded with voters who don't share his ideological roots to rally behind his candidacy.

"A large social majority has expressed its desire for real, creative and hopeful change for our country," he said.

About 28 percent of eligible voters didn't casts ballots Sunday, a significant percentage given Cyprus' traditionally high voter turnout rates that confirmed pre-election concerns about voter apathy.

As in previous years, the Mediterranean island nation's decades-old ethnic division and numerous failed efforts to heal it dominated the concerns of voters. Many Cypriots also want more benefits from a rebounding economy to flow to a middle class struggling with the consequences of a 2013 financial crisis.

Cyprus was split into a Greek-speaking south and a Turkish-speaking north in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and it maintains more than 35,000 Turkish troops in the north.

Anastasiades, 71, had appealed to voters to put their trust in his experience rather than the untried and risky policies of his rivals.

He said it was this experience that brought reunification talks with breakaway Turkish Cypriots farther than at any time in more than four decades.

But both Malas, 50, and Papadopoulos, 44, had attacked Anastasiades for the failure of the recent peace talks that ended in July. Malas said the president was not bold enough to push talks toward a deal.

Papadopoulos took a tougher line, accusing Anastasiades of making too many concessions that would cast the efficacy of any peace deal in serious doubt.

Anastasiades repeated that he's proven his readiness to negotiate, but won't overstep boundaries on issues that would make a peace deal unpalatable to Greek Cypriots, including what he said where Turkey's demands to keep troops on the island and the right to militarily intervene.

Anastasiades and Malas have said they would reach out to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to scope out the possibility of getting negotiations restarted.

Malas and Papadopoulos also accused the incumbent of not doing enough to support the shrinking middle class that suffered after Cyprus needed a multibillion-euro rescue package from its Eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund in 2013.

Anastasiades said it was his steady, disciplined stewardship of public finances that enabled the country to bounce back from near bankruptcy to post last year one of Europe's highest growth rates.

Papadopoulos congratulated Anastasiades and Malas on Sunday night.

"I know that many friends feel bitterness and disappointment. I feel the same," he said. "But despite the attacks and mudslinging that we've sustained in this election, we can be proud because we put forward proposals and conducted an honorable campaign."

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