By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS residents who qualify to vote in the upcoming European Parliament (EP) elections are being encouraged to register as the deadline is fast approaching.
Registrations must be received by April 2 to enable participation in the elections which will take place on May 25.
Peyia in particular, which is home to thousands of British expats, is encouraging would-be voters to register.
According to local councillor Linda Leblanc, the first ever EP election meeting to be held in English is due to take place on Monday March 24 in Chlorakas.
“Although Cyprus joined Europe ten years ago, numbers of registered voters are pathetically low,” she said.
Leblanc puts this down to a lack of information campaigns by the government.
“There are thousands of people who are eligible to vote and yet they haven’t. This means they are either apathetic or they aren’t aware of their rights.”
Leblanc said the government claims to have sent out 7,000 letters to eligible non-Cypriot voters and yet she doesn’t know of anyone who has received one.
“There are thousands of permanent residents in possession of their yellow slips and many of them live in Peyia. We are encouraging people to exercise their right to vote,” said the Cyprus Green Party member.
Monday’s meeting is being organised by the Green Party and EDEK, who are sharing a ballot ticket. Leblanc said this will offer an opportunity for residents to meet president of the house, EDEK’s Yiannakis Omirou and the Green Party candidate for MEP, deputy Giorgos Perdikis.
Monday’s meeting will see the joint manifesto being presented and the candidates will be introduced. It will be conducted in English between 6-7pm and will be followed by the same in Greek. An informal reception will be held afterwards to enable the public to talk to the candidates. Voter registration information will also be available.
Leblanc noted that April 1 was a national holiday, but added that the Paphos District Offices would be open on April 2 until 5pm to accept last-minute applications.
“We want to encourage as many people to vote in Cyprus and they may download voter registration forms via our website. If need be, we will take the forms and copies of relevant documents to the Paphos District Office for them,” she said.
This year’s EP elections will be the third in which Cyprus is participating since its full accession to the EU, in May 2004. Cyprus elects six members at the EP.
To download voting forms http://www.pegeiacoalition.org/voting.asp
For information 26-621272, 99-459380