The first round of the presidential election in Cyprus concluded on Feb. 17 with three candidates emerging out of a field of 10. The overall voter turn out was more than 80%.
Expecting an outright victory, center-right party candidate Nicos Anastiades was forced into a second round election by two other candidates running as independents, Stavros Malas and Giorgios Lillikas.
Anastiades is seen as the favored candidate of big banks and others who want to impose austerity on Cyprus in response to the worldwide crisis of capital.
Malas, who enjoys the support of left party, AKEL, came in second. Malas and Lillikas' combined vote total topped Anastiades. Lillikas is backed by EDEK, a party considered socialist but more in the model of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party.
In a recent statement on the elections the AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou called on Cypriots to "defend the public and natural wealth" and to defend against neo liberal attacks on working people, social benefits, wages and pensions.
After the first round results, Malas called upon the public to defend Cyprus and democracy. Now he is currently reaching out to the supporters of third place finisher, whose votes will be critical for the anti-austerity candidate's victory. The second round is scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 24.
Photo: Cyprus is situated in the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea. (CC)