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Peace hopes at stake as northern Cyprus voters go to the polls

Unofficial early results show first round voting has narrowed field to leftist incumbent and rightwing nationalist

Voters in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus are to face a stark choice between candidates in a run-off presidential election deemed crucial for the resumption of peace talks that could end 46 years of ethnic division on the Mediterranean island.

Following a campaign fraught with allegations of overt meddling from Ankara, the 200,000-strong electorate cast votes yesterday in a first-round contest that narrowed the field to a pro-reunification moderate and a Turkey-backed nationalist who wants two clear states on the island.

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