By Peter Stevenson
RULING DISY leader Averof Neophytou has called for changes to voting procedures in parliamentary elections in attempt to encourage more people to vote.
Neophytou is seeking the introduction of a cross party voting system which allows voters to pick candidates from different parties. Under the present system, voters choose either the party or specific candidates from that same party.
“We believe that the current system deprives tens of thousands of people the right to choose the best candidates, irrespective of what party they belong to,” he said on Saturday.
Neophytou said he was seeking greater openness.
“Parties need to open up to the people. We don’t believe society should be split into parties but that policies should apply to all. We will turn our words into actions,” he said.
DISY’s leader said that all voting procedures need to be looked at including European parliamentary elections and local elections.
He added that DISY will discuss the matter with the other parties but that the main concern is the public.
Responding to a comment that abstentions have now reached 40 per cent, Neophytou said radical measures need to be adopted.
DISY will also put forward a proposal that both mayoral and parliamentary elections take place simultaneously.
“It is not only the cost, which comes to between €5 and €8 million, for each election but that pre-election campaigns are also very costly especially to all those independent parties,” he said. “Making radical changes and modernising is the way to always stay one step ahead.”
Neophytou was speaking following a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades at DISY headquarters following the 40-day memorial service of former President Glafcos Clerides.
“The relationship between the party and the government is strong and trusting because we are united by many things, but our main aim is to save our homeland,” he said.
Neophytou said that DISY will support the government in its attempts to revive the economy and in finding a suitable solution to the Cyprus problem.
“We hope for more EU involvement which will give us the chance to reunite our country and through a fair solution to the Cyprus problem we can benefit economically,” he said.