Nicosia (Cyprus): In a tightly contested parliamentary election, Rightist opposition party DISY has narrowly defeated the ruling AKEL party.

But the results indicate that voter's support for leftist President Dimitris Christofias' handling of long-running talks with seperated Turkish Cypriots to reunify the divided island remains steady.

Official results showed on Sunday that DISY got 34.27 per cent or 1.6 per cent more than its traditional communist-rooted rival AKEL, a party which Christofias had led for two decades before resigning his post in 2008.

Cyprus is governed under a presidential system meaning that parliamentary elections don't result into a change of government. But they reflect public sentiment on a government's performance and are used to measure party strength in alliance building for presidential elections.

DISY's narrow victory margin coupled with the fact that AKEL managed to push its overall support numbers up by more than a percentage point over the previous poll suggests that Christofias continues to enjoy broad public backing in reunification efforts that have dominated the island's politics for decades, said political analyst Tim Potier.

"It's a win-win situation for all concerned, they can all be satisfied with the result," Potier said.

Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot South and a Turkish Cypriot North in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters with Greece. The island joined the European Union in 2004 but only the internationally recognised South enjoys membership benefits.

 (Agencies)