By Sinead Kelly
Parliament on Thursday gave the nod to a law easing the path for Turkish Cypriots residing in the occupied areas to vote in European Parliament elections.
The government bill passed with a plurality, with just 18 votes for, 1 against and 26 abstentions.
As a result Turkish Cypriots will for the first time be able to participate in the European Parliament elections, held in the south. Some 95,000 Turkish Cypriots with a Cyprus Republic ID card would be eligible to cast a ballot as well as stand for election as MEP.
Previously, all Republic citizens eligible to vote had to register with the interior ministry on the electoral roll before being allowed to participate in elections.
Now, Turkish Cypriots will be able to vote for an MEP by crossing the buffer zone and showing their ID cards at a polling station.
The bill had been put to the plenum three times before but voting on it was postponed.