Conservative Democratic Rally candidate Nicos Anastasiades won the February 2013 run-off election by one of the biggest margins for many years, promising to do whatever was needed to secure a financial rescue package.
He pledged to hammer out a quick deal with foreign lenders and bring Cyprus closer to Europe, in a shift from the policies of the outgoing Communist government that first sought aid from Russia before turning to the European Union.
He quickly reached agreement with the European Union and IMF on a 10bn-euro bank bailout, which was equally-quickly amended to safeguard smaller bank accounts after parliament rejected the deal. Finance Minister Michael Sarris felt obliged to resign, and the country continues to face deep recession.
In contrast with the policies of his predecessor who objected to any links with NATO, Mr Anastasiades says one of his first tasks would be to apply for Cypriot membership of the NATO-affiliated Partnership for Peace.
Mr Anastasiades, aged 66 when he was elected, is a lawyer known for his no-nonsense style and impressive access to important European policymakers like German Chancellor and fellow-conservative Angela Merkel.
Eight months of talks on a bailout package turned Cyprus into a big headache for the euro zone, triggering fears of a financial collapse that could reignite the bloc's debt crisis.
Cyprus had been shut out of international capital markets for almost two years, with the outgoing administration resorting to heavy borrowing from state-owned corporations to pay public sector salaries.