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Cross-voting still short of support

AKEL is opposed to the plan as it may favour smaller political groupings

By Elias Hazou

POLITICAL parties are currently finalising their respective positions on cross-voting, but at the moment the proposal for introducing this system does not seem to be garnering sufficient backing.

The proposal, via a bill, for switching to cross-voting would require a majority in the House – at least 29 votes.

Ruling DISY, with 20 seats, is said to be generally in favour, but as daily Politis reports, not all in the party are of the same opinion.

Others who are favourably disposed are Greens MP George Perdikis and Nicos Koutsou of the Citizens Alliance. Their combined votes, with DISY, come to 22, well short of what is needed to pass the relevant law.

As such, DIKO’s stance on the matter will tip the scales. The centrist party has eight seats in parliament.

Behind the push to switch to a cross-voting system is Transparency Now, a coalition of civic organisations. They have formed a working group with DISY, the Citizens Alliance and the Greens.

EDEK, who previously participated in the working group, subsequently walked out.

According to Politis, DISY’s top political organ will be convening this weekend to discuss the issue and possibly finalise their stance.

DIKO is to meet anew with representatives of Transparency Now after the Easter holidays.

AKEL has made it clear they are against cross-voting. Speaking to reporters yesterday, party leader Andros Kyprianou said he remained unconvinced about the arguments in favour.

“Whenever there are elections, voters take a political position. A voter cannot pick candidates who hold diametrically opposing views,” he said.

Kyprianou also doubted whether cross-voting would lead to increased voter turnout, saying there was no evidence to support this.

“If someone [a candidate] believes he or she can win, then they will win irrespective of which ticket they are on,” he added.

In the same vein, EDEK’s Costas Efstathiou listed a number of reservations on cross-voting. Chief among them is the danger of making voters ‘apolitical’.

“It is inconceivable that a citizen will vote for a candidate who is in favour of the memorandum and privatisations, and at the same time vote for someone who is against those things,” Esftathiou said in a statement.

Moreover, he added, the complexity of the cross-voting system might lead to a ‘democratic deficit’. There is also a danger that the larger parties would manipulate the election of MPs from the smaller parties.

Nevertheless, EDEK would continue its meetings with Transparency Now and plans to convene its Political Bureau right after the Easter break.

If introduced, cross-voting would apply from the 2016 parliamentary elections as well as the municipal elections (for municipal councillors) in the same year.

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