2013-02-11 08:23 PM
A corrected version of the story is below:
Polls: Cyprus rightist candidate consolidates lead
Polls show Cyprus' rightist presidential candidate padding lead a week before election
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Cyprus' right-wing opposition leader has a substantial lead over his two main rivals in the upcoming presidential election, opinion polls indicated Sunday, as the country struggles to overcome its worst economic crisis in decades.
The poll, conducted on behalf of weekly newspaper Kathimerini, showed that Nicos Anastasiades' support was at 41 percent, 18 points more than left-wing candidate Stavros Malas, and 20.7 points over independent Giorgos Lillikas. The telephone poll used a sample of 1,200 adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.83 percent.
Another poll carried for leading newspaper Phileleftheros put Anastasiades ahead with 42.1 percent, 20 points more than Malas and 22.7 more than Lillikas. That telephone poll sampled 1,188 adults. No margin of error was given.
Both polls indicated that a runoff is likely.
Cyprus is trying to clinch a rescue package for its ailing banks and economy from its euro area partners and the International Monetary Fund before it runs out of cash to pay its bills. The crisis has superseded efforts to reunify the ethnically split country as the dominant campaign issue, the first time this has happened in nearly 40 years of peace talks.
Cyprus was divided into an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south and a breakaway Turkish speaking north in 1974, when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. The latest round of peace talks under incumbent President Dimitris Christofias who is not running for re-election has stalled.
Anastasiades has promoted his ties to other right-wing EU officials to portray himself as most able to marshal the kind of support the country needs to get rescue money from its bailout-weary partners.
Malas is backed by President Dimitris Christofias' communist-rooted AKEL party that many blame for the country's woes. Malas favors negotiating less painful bailout terms with creditors and focusing on job creation to improve the economy.
Lillikas says he would do that by using revenue from the country's newfound offshore gas deposits.