Cyprus Elects Communist President

Cyprus Elects Communist President

Cyprus' communist party leader Dimitris Christofias won Sunday's elections, becoming the EU's only communist head of state. reports.

Mr Christofias, the head of the communist Akel Party, won against former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides with around 54% against Mr Kasoulides' 46.6 percent.

About half a million people were eligible to vote at these elections, including 390 Turkish Cypriots, with some 91 percent of them voting, according to Bloomberg.

Despite being Soviet-educated and leading a communist party however, Mr Christofias has vowed to preserve his country's market economy and ruled out nationalisations of companies.

In addition, countering attacks to his EU commitment in a debate with his rival last week, he insisted he was "not a Eurosceptic".

But he added: "I'm a Euro-fighter. I fight for Cyprus's best interests within Europe. I won't say yes to everything the EU says," Bloomberg reports.

However, what Mr Christofias' election also brings to the table, are hopes for a relaunch of discussions on the reunification of the divided island.

Cyprus has been independent since 1960 and divided since a Turkish invasion of the island's northern part in 1974, triggered by a Greek-inspired coup.

Currently Northern Cyprus is only recognized internationally by Turkey.

Both Mr Christofias and Mr Kasoulides campaigned on re-launching the peace talks that had stopped in 2004 after a failed referendum on the matter, when Greek Cypriots rejected the idea of reunifying Cyprus.

Mr Christofias' Akel party has traditionally good relations with Cypriot Turks and analysts note that the conditions are currently good for a re-launch of the process, as Northern Cyprus has also been run by moderate left-wing President Mehmet Ali Talat since 2005.

Turkish Cypriots welcomed Mr Christofias' election.

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