Cyprus Mail

Electoral reform should include expat vote

The Cyprus Mail on November 6 carried an interesting article about updating the country’s electoral law, even quoting DISY’s opinion that a particular proposal from the party “fully modernises Cyprus’ electoral law and brings it in line with those of 25 other EU Member States”.   But not until it becomes possible for all our adult citizens to have a say in the election of the island’s president can it be claimed the electoral law is up to date. It shouldn’t depend just on citizenship. For years I have campaigned for expats – and not only from the UK – to be allowed to vote at any presidential election. There are tens of thousands of such people who live here (and yes, maybe a time qualification should be involved) who are currently disenfranchised despite them being subject to any and all decisions made by a given president. This is in contrast to 300,000 Greek Cypriots who live in the UK who can take part in all elections from the day they arrive, providing they take the trouble to register.

I have several times written to President Anastasiades on this subject, but apart from telling me that “the president wishes me health and happiness”, his office simply recommends I write to the interior minister, which I have done. But neither the president nor the interior minister sees fit to address the topic of voting rights, or even civilly to respond to any correspondence. Why not I wonder? We create wealth here; we pay taxes; we assist with IPT payments to help the economy recover; we buy property; of course our money is welcome; but to share in the crucial issue of who shall be elected as president to govern us, this is ignored, set aside, left unaddressed and totally brushed off.

Cyprus’s electoral law “fully modernised”? I think not. There is a long way to go. There has to be a way to include a truly substantial, genuinely concerned, committed, and articulate percentage of the population in joining in with everyone else when it comes to choosing a president.

With not a single government official willing to answer a single question about a matter of electoral interest, where is the reform?

Clive Turner.


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