Cyprus Vote Raises Hopes for Unification

Incumbent ousted; 2 pro-compromise candidates go to run-off
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2008 1:55 PM CST
Cyprus Vote Raises Hopes for Unification
Demetris Christofias, head of the reformed communist AKEL party waves to his supporters outside of his campaign headquarters in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Sunday Feb. 17, 2008. President Tassos Papadopoulos was eliminated from Cyprus' presidential runoff in a major surprise after a cliffhanger election...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – After decades of division, Cyprus is a step closer to unification, AFP reports. Greek Cypriots ousted incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos in a three-way election yesterday, and the two remaining candidates will face off in another vote on Sunday. Both seem willing to reach out to Turkish Cypriots, mending bridges the hard-line Papadopoulos administration nearly burned.

In 2004, Papadopoulos rejected a plan to reunite the island, which has been divided since 1974 between the Turkish north and Greek south. His defeat represents “a new start, with a more realistic approach by the Greek Cypriots,” one analyst said. “They will be more flexible.” One remaining candidate, communist leader Demetris Christofias, is trying to win over Papadopoulos supporters by promising tough negotiations. (Read more Cyprus stories.)

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