Cyprus party refuses to back candidate in presidential race

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Cyprus party refuses to back candidate in presidential race
Presidential candidate and leader of the center-right DIKO party Nicolas Papadopoulos, is seen prior to his live televised debate in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. The Cyprus presidential election will take place on Sunday. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Leaders of a major Cyprus political party aren’t supporting either the incumbent or his left-wing challenger in the runoff of the country’s presidential election.

The executive bureau of center-right DIKO said Tuesday that endorsing either President Nicos Anastasiades or independent Stavros Malas would be a reversal of the party’s stance on reunification talks with the divided nation’s breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

The party’s candidate in the election’s first round on Sunday advocated a tougher line in the peace talks, saying Anastasiades and Malas would concede too much to the Turkish side.

The bureau says backing either runoff contender would diminish DIKO’s credibility and be “disrespectful” to voters who cast ballots for party leader Nicholas Papadopoulos. He received more than one-quarter of the vote.