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Turkish Cypriot MEP candidate appeals over voter address regulations

Afrika's Sener Levent

By Angelos Anastasiou

TURKISH CYPRIOT journalist Sener Levent, running as an independent candidate for one of Cyprus’ six Euro MP spots in Sunday’s elections, said he was seeking to have the elections postponed as his son’s name was not included in the list of Turkish Cypriot eligible voters.

In an article in local daily Politis on Thursday, Levent claimed that he went through the 58,637-strong list of Turkish Cypriot eligible voters but found many names missing, including his son and many well-known Turkish Cypriot officials. Levent described the issue as a “full-blown scandal, an embarrassment”.

“We called Demetris Demetriou at the Elections Commissioner’s Office,” Levent wrote. “The list, he said, contains the names of those who stated their address in the north when they applied for a Republic of Cyprus identity card. Those who did not state a residential address were left out of the list.”

But Levent claimed his son’s residential address has remained unchanged since his birth, in the occupied part of Nicosia, and wondered how it could be possible for people to be issued identity cards without ascertaining their place of residence.

“I ask this: how did you give an ID to people who never gave you their address? If you did, then you are to blame. The fault, the blame lies with you. What right do you have to make those people pay now?”

Levent said he would pay a visit to the EU’s representation in Cyprus and the Interior Ministry, asking that the elections be postponed as “our fellow citizens’ right to vote is being violated.”

Elections Commissioner for Euro Elections Konstantinos Nikolaides issued a statement in response.

“According to the 2014 amendment, the special electoral register contains citizens of the Republic who reside in the areas not under the government’s control, have reached the age of 18 prior to the election date, and hold an identity card issued by the Civil Registration System,” Nikolaides said.

“In this case, the critical point is whether one resides in the areas not under the government’s control,” he explained. Based on this point, 58,637 Turkish Cypriot registered voters have automatically been placed on the electoral register, out of a total 95,000 who hold a valid Republic of Cyprus ID card.

The European Parliament’s representation in Cyprus confirmed that Levent had visited them and submitted his request for the postponement of the elections, but denied having the authority to do so.

“Responsibility for the organisation of Euro-elections lies with member states individually,” said Alexandra Attalides, acting head of the Cyprus representation.

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