A picture taken on January 18, 2018, shows a campaign poster of Nikolas Papadopoulos, a Cyprus presidential election candidate, pictured on the Limassol-Nicosia highway. / AFP / Iakovos Hatzistavrou
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Cyprus gears up for a presidential election next week with incumbent Nicos Anastasiades favourite to win as he pledges a fresh push to reunify the divided island after talks collapsed last year.Anastasiades, 71, however, looks unlikely to win the Jan. 28 first round outright, and is expected to face a run-off on Feb. 4 against either communist-backed Stavros Malas or Nikolas Papadopoulos, a former president's son who takes a tougher line on peace efforts.In July, two years of U.N.-backed talks between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci came closer than ever to reunifying the island but collapsed in acrimony before the finishing line.While the "national issue" is ever present, the economy has since 2013 been uppermost for many of the roughly 550,000 registered Greek Cypriot voters.When Anastasiades took over, the banking sector was in meltdown and he was forced to take a 10-billion-euro (more than $12-billion) bailout that entailed biting austerity measures.Since then the island has bounced back faster than many expected and the economy has grown steadily since 2015 .
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