NEWS

Ousted Cyprus leader neutral

Outgoing Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, who was eliminated in last Sunday’s first-round presidential elections, yesterday refused to endorse either of his rivals in the forthcoming runoff. «Respectful of each person’s free will, I do not wish to influence, directly or indirectly, their decision in this election contest,» he said. Papadopoulos refused to speculate on the reasons for his surprise exit from the polls, speaking of the «judgment and will of the people which is absolutely respected as it will be in the second round.» Conservative contender Ioannis Kassoulides and Communist party leader Dimitris Christofias are campaigning to attract the 31.8 percent of voters who had backed Papadopoulos. Meanwhile, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan indicated that Ankara would back a new peace push. «We hope a new period for resolution of the Cyprus problem will begin after the election,» he said. «There will be efforts (from the Turkish side) but we must be a little patient,» he added.