By George Psyllides
THE government yesterday approved legislation that makes it easier for Turkish Cypriots to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections by registering those eligible on the electoral roll automatically.
The bill provides that all Cypriot citizens who are eligible to vote, including those living in the north with Republic identity cards, will be automatically registered on the electoral roll and will not have to apply.
“It is already known that this decision is linked with the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the next European elections,” government spokesman Christos Stylianides said. “It is equal participation for all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.”
Cyprus is entitled to six MEPs.
Theoretically, Turkish Cypriots could elect two representatives, if they all turned out to vote in the May 26 ballot.
However, they want a separate vote to be held in the breakaway state, something rejected by the government.
Deniz Birinci, Foreign Relations’ Secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), was quoted in the Turkish Cypriot press as saying that political groups in the European parliament were positive on participation in the elections.
“However, they are not positive on holding a separate election in the north,” she told Kibris newspaper.
“According to information we acquired, 80,000 Turkish Cypriots will automatically be registered on the election lists and that they have the right to vote and if all of them vote there is a possibility for the Turkish Cypriots filling up the two seats,” she said.
Birinci said Turkish Cypriots have two choices: either to participate in the elections in the government-controlled area of the island or to hold elections in the occupied areas under the supervision of the European parliament.
It is understood that the number of Turkish Cypriots with Republic of Cyprus identity cards is more than 80,000.