Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades won reelection to second five-year term Sunday, promising to continue economic recovery and the island’s reunification efforts.
The conservative Anastasiades beat his leftist challenger Stavros Malas 56 to 44 percent. The two also faced-off in the 2013 election.
“I will continue to be president for all Cypriots,” Anastasiades told cheering supporters in Nicosia. “Tonight, there are no winners of losers. There is only a Cyprus for all of us.”
Malas told his backers they can be disappointed, but said “the battle” does not begin or end with a single election. He said he telephoned Anastasiades and told him to “take care of our Cyprus.”
Anastasiades is credited with helping the Greek Cypriot economy bounce back from a severe recession that required a bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
But there has been little progress in U.N.-sponsored reunification talks with the Turkish Cypriot north.
Anastasiades promises to resist Turkish demands to keep a military presence on a reunified Cyprus and continue oil and gas exploration off the Greek Cypriot coast – an enterprise that also angers Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkish forces invaded in response to a military coup aimed at unifying the entire island with Greece.
Only Turkey recognizes an independent northern Cyprus while the southern half enjoys international recognition and the economic benefits of EU membership.