Former Cypriot Foreign Minister led the first round of voting for the country’s presidency on Sunday and faces a runoff next week against second-place finisher, a career diplomat.

Iran PressEurope: Former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides took the lead in Cyprus's presidential election on Sunday and will face off against leftist-backed candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis in a runoff on February 12.

The race to become the eighth president of Cyprus will extend into a second week after the Mediterranean island’s former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides emerged as the frontrunner but failed to gain enough support to win outright.

The 49-year-old independent will face Andreas Mavroyiannis, a veteran career diplomat backed by the leftist Akel party, in a runoff on 12 February.

Results released by the interior ministry showed Christodoulides winning 32.04% of the vote in Sunday’s election and an unexpectedly strong showing of 29.6% for his opponent. 219