CONSERVATIVE leader Nicos Anastasiades easily won the first round in Cyprus’s presidential elections yesterday, but failed to avoid a runoff vote, reflecting deep divi- sions among Cypriots on a bailout deal to save the island nation from bankruptcy.
A financial crash in Cyprus could reignite the Eurozone debt crisis and investors are keen to see Anastasiades, the strongest advocate of an international rescue, clinch victorynd secure a bailout, even though that too, has its drawbacks.
Analysts said the 66-year-old lawyer looked likely to win the 24 February run-off, but that the strong combined showing of his two main rivals who campaigned against austerity showed the depths of anti-bailout anger in the nation.
“It is a victory for the forces who want us to turn a page,” Anastasiades, said after the results were announced.
A lawyer who has led the Democratic Rally party since 1997, he secured 45.4 per cent of the vote, well ahead of leftist Stavros Malas who trailed with 26.9 per cent. George Lillikas, an independent, took 24.9 per cent.