Cyprus in Cliffhanger Election

NICOSIA, Cyrpus -- Greek Cypriots voted Sunday for a new president in a cliffhanger three-way race crucial for any revival of peace talks on the divided island and for Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union.

No clear winner was likely from Sunday's vote. Polls forecast a neck-and-neck contest between incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos and challengers Demetris Christofias and Ioannis Kassoulides.

Final results were expected late Sunday night. If no clear winner emerged, a runoff was to be held Feb. 24.

The winner will be mandated to seek a peace deal to reunite Cyprus' ethnic Greeks and Turks, divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 sparked by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Cyprus is now represented in the EU by its Greek Cypriots.

Without a solution, Greek-led Cyprus will never agree to Turkey's admission into the EU. The problem could also complicate cooperation between NATO, of which Turkey is a member, and the security arm of the EU, the European Security and Defense Policy.

"The future is in our hands. I hope that with the help of the people we can achieve the solution we want and deserve," Papadopoulos, 74, said as he cast his vote.

He led Greek Cypriot opposition to a UN reunification plan in 2004 that was accepted by Turkish Cypriots, and says he will oppose any attempt to revive that plan.

Papadopoulos was tipped to be marginally ahead of the other two candidates in the first round.