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Malas rallies support, woos Lillikas.

AKEL-backed Stavros Malas, who has secured a place in next Sunday's runoff ballot, sought to rally supporters last night by promising that ultimate triumph was still in their grasp.

"This battle shall be victorious," 45-year-old Malas assured fans who flocked to his election HQ shortly after the final results were in.

"We know that we have the obligation to give our country a future and prospects in these critical times," he added, reiterating a pledge to form a national coalition government if elected to the top office.

Malas seemed also to extend a hand to independent candidate Giorgos Lillikas, who may be out of the race but has assumed the role of kingmaker.

"Historically, we have many things in common with the forces which supported Mr. Lillikas," he said.

For his part, Lillikas was gracious in defeat, congratulating his two main rivals.

Despite not making the cut, Lillikas -- whom rivals accused of being an ideological flip-flopper -- promised to "carry on the fight."

"Ours was a tough and lopsided struggle. We were aware of the difficulty of challenging the establishment, the salaried party mechanisms. Today we have forged a new path, we have subverted certain rationales and conservative traditions which do not care for citizens and which place party patriotism above real patriotism.

"We have shown that citizens have both power and a voice. This is just the beginning," Lillikas concluded.

The former Foreign Minister kept his cards close to his chest, refusing to be drawn when asked which of the two remaining camps he would endorse in the runoff.

AKEL supporters gather last night to celebrate their man Malas getting through to next Sunday's poll

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Feb 18, 2013
Words:287
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