24 February 2008

New Cyprus president

Today's runoff election is over and the results are in: Communist wins Cyprus presidential vote.
Communist party leader Demetris Christofias won the presidential election in Cyprus on Sunday and immediately pledged to work to reunify the island after 34 years of division. Greek Cypriot parliament speaker Christofias, 61, garnered 53.36 percent of the vote against 46.64 percent for conservative former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, according to final results of an election billed by the local media as one of the most crucial in the history of Cyprus.

"Tomorrow is a new day and there will be many difficulties before us, we need to gather our strength to achieve the reunification of our homeland," said Christofias, who is due to be sworn in on Friday. He has pledged to renew contacts with the rival Turkish Cypriots in a bid to end the partition of the strategic eastern Mediterranean island after negotiations stalled under outgoing president Tassos Papadopoulos.

Christofias's victory makes him the European Union's sole communist head of state and makes Cyprus the only European country with a communist president apart from ex-Soviet Moldova — over 16 years after the Soviet Union collapsed.

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