Nikos Christodoulides elected president of Cyprus, vows to revive peace talks with TurkeyComments
Nikos Christodoulides became Cyprus' newest president after he defeated the communist-backed career diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis in the country's presidential elections on Sunday.
With 100% of ballots counted, Christodoulides had 51.9% of the vote and his runoff rival Mavroyiannis, had 48.1%, according to official election results. Mavroyiannis conceded defeat before the vote tally was complete.
The former foreign minister campaigned as a unifying force for ethnically divided Cyprus, eschewing ideological and party divisions.
During his inauguration speech in Nicosia, the 49-year-old independent centrist said he hoped to unite the Mediterranean island nation -- a task which has eluded politicians during nearly a half-century of negotiations.
"My biggest concern is the end of the Turkish occupation and the reunification of our homeland. I will do everything to break the deadlock, to restart the dialogue, to create the conditions for solving the Cyprus problem," said the president-elect.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish forces occupied its northern third in response to a Greek-sponsored coup.
Nikos Christodoulides has repeatedly stated that convincing Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots to return to the negotiating table is a top priority,
"In the Cyprus that I envision, there is no "us" and "them". In the Cyprus that I envision, I will be the President of all Cypriots," he vowed.