NICOSIA, Feb.21 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus presidential hopeful Demetris Christofias has secured the crucial support of two other parties, gaining an apparent edge for this weekend's runoff.
After three days of bargaining, the left-wing parliament speaker successfully persuaded the leaders of the center-right Democratic Party (DIKO) and the Movement of Social Democrats (EDEK) to rally behind him, local media reported on Thursday.
The two parties had backed incumbent President Tassos Papadopoulos before he was knocked out in Sunday's first round by Christofias and former Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
Back in 2003, Christofias' AKEL party set up a coalition with the DIKO, the EDEK and the Ecologists, which sent Papadopoulos to the Presidential Palace.
As head of state and leader of the Greek Cypriot community, Papadopoulos has been labeled a 'hardliner' by his opponents on the reunification talks with the island's Turkish Cypriots.
Nearly 70 percent of Greek Cypriot voters voiced a sound "no" Sunday to Papadopoulos, mainly due to their dissatisfaction with the stalemate in the talks.
The AKEL, also disagreeing with Papadopoulos' stance, withdrew from the coalition last year and decided to send Christofias as its own candidate for the presidential race.
Despite what local media called "old friends being reunited," it remains unclear if supporters of the two parties, or how many of them, will follow the call to endorse Christofias.
Meanwhile, Kasoulides has gained public support from the island state's powerful Orthodox church, also gathering momentum before Sunday's showdown.