Two candidates vie for votes in Cyprus presidential election runoff, Sunday

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By Euronews  with AFP
A polling station in Cyprus, February 5, 2023
A polling station in Cyprus, February 5, 2023   -  Copyright  Euronews

A former foreign minister and a career diplomat will face off in a runoff election to be the next president of Cyprus on Sunday.

In the first round of the election Nikos Christodoulides won 32.04% of the vote with Andreas Mavroyiannis in second place with 29.6%.

Mavroyiannis, who was formerly ambassador to the United Nations, is backed by the leftist Akel party and was regarded as an outsider before the first round last Sunday.

The winner will become the eighth president of the Mediterranean nation. 

A third of the island has been in Turkish hands since 1974 when Ankara sent in troops in response to an attempt by the Greek government to annex Cyprus.

The United Nations has maintained a peacekeeping force in Cyprus since 1964 and is responsible for patrolling the buffer zone between the two communities.

The outgoing head of state, Nicos Anastasiades, has served for two consecutive five-year terms and is not allowed to stand again.