February 17, 2013 / 5:15 PM / in 5 years

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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