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Cyprus president defeats rival

Reuters

Newly reelected President Nicos Anastasiades greets his supporters during a proclamation ceremony after the second round of the presidential election, at Eleftheria Hall in Nicosia on Sunday.

The Associated Press NICOSIA (AP) — Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades vowed to push on with attempts to reunify the ethnically divided island nation and to improve the economic fortunes of its people after he was reelected by a wide margin Sunday.

Anastasiades defeated left-leaning independent challenger Stavros Malas in a runoff election. Anastasiades received 56 percent of the vote, compared to 44 percent for Malas, in the final returns.

Malas telephoned Anastasiades to concede defeat about an hour after polls closed, when half of the ballots had been counted and Malas trailed badly.

Speaking to supporters, Malas said he told Anastasiades to “take care of our Cyprus.”

It’s the second consecutive time that Anastasiades, 71, a conservative veteran politician, won a head-to-head contest with Malas, 50, for the presidency.

“Tomorrow, a new day, a new era dawns, where people demand cooperation from all of us,” Anastasiades told throngs of jubilant supporters at his campaign headquarters.

Malas campaigned as the candidate who would bring change to a tired political system that short-changes ordinary Cypriots, who have seen salaries and benefits slashed in the wake of the national economy’s near-meltdown.

But voters appeared to heed the incumbent’s campaign message, which blamed the left-wing economic policies of previous administrations for bringing Cyprus close to bankruptcy.Speech

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