February 24, 2008 / 6:10 AM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX - Five facts about Cyprus leftist Christofias

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus’ Communist party leader Demetris Christofias won the country’s presidential election on Sunday:

Following are five facts about Christofias:

- Elected president of Cyprus’s House of Representatives in 2001, he backed rival Tassos Papadopoulos’s bid for the presidency in 2003. He left the administration in 2007 when Papadopoulos refused to back his candidacy in the 2008 elections.

- Although he came out against a 2004 U.N. plan to re-unite Cyprus, he said he had secretly disagreed with Papadopoulos’ handling of the issue and now says he will seek to negotiate with Turkish Cypriots if elected.

- His party had been against admission of Cyprus into the euro zone on January 1, 2008, and advocated a delay of a year to better prepare Cypriots for the changeover, which has since gone smoothly.

- Soviet educated on a scholarship, with a doctorate degree in history, Christofias speaks fluent Russian and has close ties with the Kremlin. He rose from within communist AKEL party ranks, first as head of its youth wing, and then as AKEL secretary-general in 1988.

- Born August 29, 1946. He underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in 2002. His donor was his sister. He is married with three children.

Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Mary Gabriel

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