Nicos Anastasiades, leader of Cyprus’s main opposition Disy party, was poised to win his bid to become the country’s seventh president as Cypriots voted to choose a savior for their crisis-ravaged economy.
Anastasiades, 66, was seen winning between 58 percent and 62 percent of the vote, according to an exit poll by private broadcaster ANT1 today. He got between 57.5 percent and 61.5 percent in a poll by state broadcaster RIK, between 57 percent and 60 percent in a survey by private Mega TV and between 58.6 percent and 62.6 percent of the vote in a poll by Sigma.
Anastasiades, who was endorsed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faced a run-off vote against Stavros Malas, 45, a former health minister, after a first-round presidential election on Feb. 17 failed to deliver an absolute winner. The two candidates placed first and second respectively in that ballot.
Cypriots voted today for a new president who will have to revive stalled talks with European partners on aid that is needed to avert a financial meltdown. Cyprus, a European Union member since 2004, has been negotiating for eight months with the so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund over the terms of a bailout that could equal the size of its near 18 billion- euro ($24 billion) economy.
None of the four polls, which were published after voting centers closed, gave Malas more than 43 percent of the vote. Malas was backed by the communist Akel party of outgoing President Demetris Christofias.
The country became in June the fifth euro-area member to request international aid. It has been shut out of debt markets for almost two years, with lenders including Bank of Cyprus Plc and Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) Plc losing 4.5 billion euros in Greece’s debt restructuring last year. Cyprus needs the bailout to recapitalize its lenders as well as to finance the government over the next three years.
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