Early results show Cypriot conservative chief with strong lead
ATHENS Feb 17 (Reuters) - Cypriot conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades leads with a 45.3 percent share of the vote in Sunday's presidential election with 21 percent of the votes counted, interior ministry data showed.
The 66-year-old lawyer, who is in favour of a quick bailout deal with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders to avert a Cypriot bankruptcy, must have the backing of over 50 percent of voters to avoid a run-off a week later.
Leftist rival Stavros Malas, who is backed by the Communist party AKEL, had a 25.8 percent share of the vote, while a third contender, independent candidate George Lillikas, had 26 percent share of the vote, according to the initial results.
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