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Cyprus heads for runoff vote, conservative chief leads

Cyprus presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades (C) of the right wing Democratic Rally party casts his ballot as his wife Andriana and his
Cyprus presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades (C) of the right wing Democratic Rally party casts his ballot as his wife Andriana and his

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus was headed for a runoff vote in its presidential election after conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades failed to muster an outright majority after the bulk of votes were counted.

The 66-year-old lawyer, who is in favor of a quick bailout deal with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders to avert a Cypriot bankruptcy, led with 45.2 percent of the vote, just short of the over 50 percent level needed to avoid the run-off.

Leftist rival Stavros Malas, who is backed by the Communist party AKEL, had a 27.1 percent share of the vote, while a third contender, independent candidate George Lillikas, had a 25 percent share of the vote after 87 percent of the vote was counted.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas, Writing by Deepa Babington)

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