NICOSIA - Cypriot political leaders begin a week of bargaining on Monday after the first round of a presidential election failed to produce an outright winner to steer the island nation through its worst financial crisis in four decades.

Conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades, who backs a swift deal with EU and IMF lenders on a bailout to avert a Cypriot bankruptcy, won Sunday's vote but fell short of the absolute majority needed to avoid a run-off on Feb 24. He faces Communist-backed Stavros Malas in that round.

Any financial crash in Cyprus could reignite the euro zone debt crisis just as confidence slowly returns to the bloc.

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