Greek Cyprus opposition leader tops presidential poll

Greek Cyprus opposition leader tops presidential poll

NICOSIA – Agence France-Presse
Greek Cyprus opposition leader tops presidential poll

Nicos Anastasiades. REUTERS Photo

Pro-bailout candidate Nicos Anastasiades is destined to become Greek Cyprus’s new president, according to a newspaper poll published on Sunday which gives him an unassailable lead a week before the vote.

Main opposition leader Anastasiades, of the right-wing Disy party, remains the front-runner at 42.1 percent, followed by communist Akel-backed Stavros Malas (21 percent) and former Foreign Minister Giorgos Lillikas (19.4 percent), the Phileleftheros newspaper poll said.

Earlier polls in the week showed similar percentage yields. Anastasiades will need 50 percent plus one vote to secure the presidency on Feb. 17, but the race is likely to go to a run-off the following weekend with Malas and Lillikas neck and neck.

 The poll shows the Disy leader will have a tougher fight if Lillikas makes it through to a run-off, as Anastasiades would garner 45.3 percent against his opponent’s 32.4 percent. With Malas, he would secure a comfortable 52.3 percent against the Akel candidate’s 28.1 percent. Lillikas is the only one of the three who argues against a bailout, pledging to defend Greek Cyprus from any perceived loss of sovereignty in negotiations with international lenders.

Phileleftheros said Anastasiades also came on top among voters who see him as the best candidate to handle the economic crisis with a 50 percent rating, compared with 20 percent for Malas and 16 percent for Lillikas.