Cyprus gets a president

Another successful prediction, albeit not a difficult one: centre-right candidate Nicos Anastasiades was elected president of Cyprus in yesterday’s runoff election. I’d described him as a “shoo-in” after last week’s first round.

Official results put Anastasiades on 57.5% to 42.5% for his left-wing rival, Stavros Malas. Turnout was a high 81.6%.

That means that the 27.6% that went to other candidates in the first round – almost all of it for independent Giorgos Lillikas, who comes from the left – split only slightly in Malas’s favor.

It looks like a pretty unenviable job, but at least Anastasiades has a solid mandate to confront Cyprus’s problems. (Not that that seems to have helped Spain’s Mariano Rajoy much, for example.) Voters still seem to accept the need for a degree of austerity to overcome the continent’s financial malaise.

In Cyprus that helped the centre-right, but in Italy tonight it will be the centre-left leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, who’s hoping that the electorate doesn’t fall for populism.

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