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Run-off presidential election begins in Cyprus

Run-off presidential election begins in Cyprus
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For Cypriot voters, it is the second visit to the polls in just over a week – this time for the run-off round of the presidential election.

The top two candidates from last Sunday’s ballot are presenting islanders facing tough economic circumstances with two ends of the political spectrum.

The favourite is Conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades, who managed 45 percent in the first round. His chances this time will probably be boosted by the refusal to back either of the run-off choices by last Sunday’s third place candidate Giorgos Lillikas.

Winning could be an uphill battle for the Communist-back Stavros Malas, who only managed 27 percent last Sunday and who is not popular with the financial markets because of his wariness about austerity.

Hammering out the details of just what Cyprus will have to do to get a much-needed bailout of up to 17.5 billion euros as soon as possible will be crucial for whoever becomes President.

The amount needed is almost the entire value of the Cyprus economy.

The head of the IMF Christine Lagarde has said that any solution to the Mediterranean island’s economic woes must be comprehensive.