Election officials carrying ballot boxes being distributed to the polling stations, in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
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Cypriots are voting Sunday to choose a president who could break a cycle of failure in talks to reunify the ethnically split island-nation – and deliver the benefits of a rebounding economy to citizens still recovering from a severe economic crisis. The incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades, 71, will face off against two main challengers: Nicholas Papadopoulos, the wealthy scion of Cyprus' late former President Tassos Papadopoulos and leader of the center-right DIKO party, and independent Stavros Malas, who is backed by the communist-rooted party AKEL.Polls show Anastasiades comfortably leading both challengers, though he doesn't appear likely to pick up more than half of the votes cast in order to win outright and avoid a Feb. 4 runoff. Turkey maintains more than 35,000 troops in the north, where Turkish Cypriots have declared independence that's recognized only by Turkey.Both Papadopoulos and Malas have attacked Anastasiades for crushing the middle class with a tough, three-year, multimillion-euro rescue program that Cyprus sought from its Eurozone partners in 2013 in order to avoid bankruptcy amid a banking crisis exacerbated by government overspending.
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