THE interior ministry’s Election Service is considering operating a number of voting stations abroad for the upcoming European Parliament (EP) elections, due to the economic crisis.
The Euro-elections will be held across all 28 member states between May 22 and 25. Cyprus will likely set Sunday, May 25, as the date to elect six members of the European parliament (MEPs).
Demetris Demetriou, head of the Election Service, said that he recently met with political parties to discuss plans for the elections. The aim is to limit the voting booths to Greece, Britain and Brussels, he said.
Demetriou said that 10,000 letters have already been sent to voters aged between 18 and 23 to register on the electoral roll. Letters will also be sent to EU nationals resident in Cyprus who are already registered for municipal elections but not for the Euro-elections.
So far, 542,000 voters are registered on the electoral roll, but Demetriou believes that this will reach 560,000 if young voters and EU nationals register in time.
He expects around 1,100 voting centres to operate on election day.
Following a recent bill passed in parliament, EU nationals in Cyprus can submit their candidacies for the EP elections, at a cost of €1,000 per candidacy, without first securing confirmation from their country of origin that they have not lost their electoral rights.
Voting times next May will revert to the original hours of 7am to 6pm, with a one-hour break at midday.
The last Euro-elections saw a participation rate of 59.4 per cent, low by Cypriot standards but substantially higher than the EU average of 43 per cent.