New Cyprus president sworn in

Nikos Christodoulides was sworn in on Tuesday as the eighth president of the republic of Cyprus, pledging to tackle illegal migration and combat corruption.

The former foreign minister, 49, has also vowed to break "the deadlock" that has left the eastern Mediterranean island divided for decades.

Christodoulides beat communist-backed career diplomat Andreas Mavroyiannis in a run-off vote on February 12.

It was the first time a president had been elected without the support of the two largest parties, DISY and the communist AKEL, which means he has minority support in parliament.

During his investiture speech before parliament on Tuesday, Christodoulides promised to deliver a society of equal opportunities.

"The fight against corruption and favouritism will be key points of my administration," he said.

A passports-for-cash scandal tainted the previous government led by Nicos Anastasiades, who served 10 years.

"The goal is better schools, greener cities, more quality health services," the new leader said.

He has vowed to tackle illegal migration in the European Union member whose population is 915,000.

It had the bloc's second-highest intake of new asylum seekers per population in October, according to EU data.

Christodoulides called illegal migration "one of the most pressing challenges", and said his efforts would focus on "speeding up the processing of asylum applications to increase returns".

He committed to sticking by reforms begun by the previous government, and said reforming the legal system was a "major challenge", including shortening notoriously lengthy judicial procedures.

Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a Greek-sponsored coup, but talks aimed at resolving the division have stalled since 2017.

The new president said the continued division "does not allow conditions of peace and security".

Christodoulides has already been criticised for falling short of his promises for a gender-balanced cabinet.

Of the 11 full cabinet posts, three are held by women.

He named as foreign minister university law professor Constantinos Kombos, 46.