Their country’s future as a eurozone member hanging in the balance, Cypriots voted on Sunday to elect a new president, with the pro-bailout conservative leader, Nicos Anastasiades, securing the biggest backing with 45.4% of the vote. Anastasiades is set to face a runoff next week after failing to gain enough support for an outright win. However, he is seen as the overwhelming favourite in that contest, against the communist-backed independent, Stavros Malas, who took 26.9% of the vote. The vote for Anastasiades and his DISY party is an endorsement of the pro-bailout policies advocated by a man who will face the arduous task of finalising a €17bn (£14.6bn) rescue package with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to keep the country’s economy afloat. Last year Cyprus became the fifth eurozone state to ask for a bailout.
Cyprus: Runoff will be held in Cyprus’ presidential election between top 2 candidates | The Washington Post
Cyprus heads into a runoff presidential election next weekend, with voters called on to select who will lead the country through a severe financial crisis after no candidate won an outright majority in Sunday’s vote. Nicos Anastasiades, a right-winger who presented himself as the most capable to negotiate a bailout with Cyprus’ European partners and who went into the election a strong favorite, won the first round with just over 45 percent of the vote. But he fell short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed for an outright victory. In the Feb. 24 runoff, he will face Stavros Malas, a left-winger who has advocated being more assertive in negotiations for bailout loans to limit the severity of austerity measures they require. Final results Sunday night showed Anastasiades winning 45.46 percent, well ahead of Malas’ 26.91. Independent Giorgos Lallikas was a close third with 24.93 percent, and was eliminated from the running.
Cypriots vote in a presidential election Sunday more worried about securing an international bailout for the crisis-hit economy than choosing a leader to bridge the island’s decades-old divide. The vote marks the first time since independence in 1960 that progress on reunification with the island’s Turkish-occupied northern third has been forced to take a back seat. “The economic crisis has dominated the debate and the Cyprus problem is second by a long distance,” political analyst Hubert Faustmann told AFP. “Whoever comes in as president will have to sign the bailout or face state bankruptcy. These are the only two options. There is no third option,” said Faustmann, associate professor of history and politics and Nicosia University.