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    Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades wins second term

    Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades beat his leftist rival to clinch a second term in a runoff election on Sunday.
    Anastasiades, from the center-right Democratic Rally, won 56 percent of the vote, comfortably ahead of Stavros Malas, from the Progressive Party of Working People, the Cyprus Mail reported.
    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker congratulated Anastasiadeson Sunday, and pointed to the work ahead on economic recovery and the reunification of Cyprus’ Greek and Turkish sides.
    “I am confident that you will continue to pursue, as skillfully as you did during your first term in office, the policies that have steered Cyprus on the path of economic growth,” he said. “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.”
    In choosing Anastasiades, Greek Cypriots voted for a leader who guided their country through a financial crisis and painful recovery, over a challenger who campaigned on the staunch promise to quickly finalize the Cyprus reunification deal Anastasiades left on the table last summer.
    Both Anastasiades and Malas pledged to return to peace negotiations with the island’s Turkish Cypriot side following the election, with the goal of ending more than 40 years of division.
    Critics blame Anastasiades, however, for walking away from a potential deal in the final stretch of intense negotiations out of concern that he would lose conservative voters in this year’s election. His team instead pointed the finger at Turkey, saying it was unwilling to quickly withdraw troops and relinquish influence over the internationally unrecognized Turkish Cypriot area.
    Malas presented himself as even more heavily pro-reunification than Anastasiades, and succeeded in beating the third election front-runner in last week’s first round — populist politician Nikolas Papadopoulos, who took a much harder line on the peace deal.

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