Cypriots vote for new president

An election official prepares ballot boxes before they are distributed to the polling stations, in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. Cypriots will vote upcoming Sunday in presidential elections with critical topics including the reunification of the divided island and economic recovery, likely to be decisive in the vote. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Election officials carrying ballot boxes being distributed to the polling stations, in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. Cypriots will vote upcoming Sunday in presidential elections with critical topics including the reunification of the divided island and economic recovery, likely to be decisive in the vote. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A police officer stands guard as election officials receive ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. Cypriots will vote upcoming Sunday in presidential elections with critical topics including the reunification of the divided island and economic recovery, likely to be decisive in the vote. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, with the three front running presidential candidates, from left, Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades, Nicolas Papadopoulos, and Stavros Malas, prior to their live televised debate in capital Nicosia, Cyprus. Cypriots will vote upcoming Sunday in presidential elections with critical topics including the reunification of the divided island and economic recovery, likely to be decisive in the vote. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, FILE)
Election officials take ballot boxes from a central depot as they are distributed to polling stations, in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. Cypriots will vote upcoming Sunday in presidential elections with critical topics including the reunification of the divided island and economic recovery, likely to be decisive in the vote. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cypriots are voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the island-nation's ethnic division and deliver more benefits from an economy on the rebound after a severe financial crisis.

Polls opened Sunday with the approximately 551,000 eligible voters starting to cast their ballots for the young republic's eighth president at over 1,100 polling booths.

Opinion polls show incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades leading his two main rivals, but he may not receive more than half of votes cast to avoid a runoff in a week's time.

Anastasiades could face in the Feb. 4 runoff either Stavros Malas, who's backed by the communist AKEL party, or Nicholas Papadopoulos, leader of the center-right DIKO party and the son of the late former President Tassos Papadopoulos.

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