Early results show Cypriot conservative chief with strong lead

NICOSIA Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:41am EST

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NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cypriot conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades took a commanding lead in Sunday's presidential runoff with a 56.8 percent share of the vote after 10 percent of votes were counted, interior ministry data showed.

Leftist rival Stavros Malas, who is backed by the Communist party AKEL, trailed with a 43.3 share of the vote.

Anastasiades is in favour of a quick bailout deal with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders to avert a looming Cypriot bankruptcy, while Malas has promised to drive a hard bargain on the austerity terms accompanying a rescue.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas, Writing by Deepa Babington)

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