Parliamentary elections take place on Sunday, 22 May with Cypriots going to the polls to elect the new 56 members of the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus (parliament) comprises 80 members and is elected for five years. Of these 80 seats, 56 are filled by Greek Cypriots and the 24 seats allocated to the Turkish Cypriot community remain vacant since 1964 when the Turkish Cypriots withdrew unilaterally from Parliament following intercommunal fighting and as part of their rebellion against the government. An additional three members represent the Maronite, Latin (Roman Catholic) and Armenian minorities. Τhey have no voting right in the Parliament. This is the 11th election since Cyprus gained its independence in 1960.
Registered voters for Sunday’s parliamentary elections stand at 542,915, while the number of polling stations is 1,136. All citizens who are at least 18 years old on the day of elections and who have registered in the permanent electoral roll, have the right to vote. Registration and voting are compulsory in Cyprus. Failure to register or to vote are violations of law with penalties applicable but not enforced in practice.
Out of 37.000 young people eligible to vote only 10.058 new voters enrolled.
A total of 70 enclaved Cypriots from the electoral district of Kyrenia and 201 from the district of Famagusta will also vote.
They will be transported to the voting stations after their arrival from the Turkish occupied areas to the government controlled areas of the Republic.
Cypriot nationals who live in Greece and the UK will also be able to vote. Ballots will operate on election day in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra in Greece as well as two in London.
Polls open at 0700 local time (0400 GMT) and close at 1800 (1500 GMT) with an hour break at midday.
Parliamentary parties, DISY, AKEL, DIKO, EDEK, Cyprus Green Party – Citizens Cooperation, Symmahia Politon (Citizens` Alliance), newly formed Allilegyi (Solidarity) which has absorbed in its ranks parliamentary party EVROKO (European Party) have submitted candidate combinations.
Candidacies were submitted by other parties such as National Popular Front (ELAM), Social Movement Simea, the Animal Party Cyprus (APC), Union of Fighters for Justice (OAD), Pnoi Laou and a number of independents.
A law approved in November 2015 by the majority of the House of Representatives plenary, raises the electoral threshold from 1.8% to 3.6%. This will apply when Sunday’s parliamentary elections take place. The threshold in the third round of vote counting has been raised to 7.2% from 3.6%.
The number of registered voters per constituency is as follows: 193,192 in Nicosia, 111,810 in Limassol, 110,879 in Famagusta, 56,027 in Larnaka, 42,428 in Pafos and 28,579 in Kyrenia, reaching a total of 542,915 voters.
In addition, the number of polling stations is 1,136 (429 in Nicosia, 331 in Limassol, 51 in Famagusta, 186 in Larnaca, 129 in Paphos and ten polling stations will operate abroad).
Thirteen additional polling stations will operate for the election of the representatives of the religious groups of Maronites and Latins.
Polling stations will be manned by unemployed degree holders.
Chief Returning Officer Constantinos Nicolaides said that 493 candidacies were submitted. Moreover four candidates run for the post of representative of the Maronite religious group, two run for the post of representative of the Latin religious group, while only one candidate incumbent Vartkes Mahdessian submitted candidacy for the post of representative of the Armenian religious group in Parliament and was officially declared as holder of the position.
The present parliament was dissolved on April 14 ahead of the parliamentary elections. The president is elected by all the Members of the House at the first sitting after the elections, after members` mandates are validated and after they are sworn in
The 2016 State Budget provides an expenditure of 2.39 million euros for the parliamentary elections.
Around 1.500 members of the Police Force will be on duty on Sunday to ensure the voting process runs smoothly.
Police Spokesman Andreas Angelides said that a large operation concerning the policing of the elections is planned, in cooperation with all relevant services and the Chief Returning Officer.
A coordination centre will operate in the presence of the Deputy Chief where the election process will be monitored and decisions taken.
We have taken all necessary measures to maintain the law and order during voting and after the results are announced. “Our aim is to ensure everything runs smooth, with order and safety, protecting the integrity of the election process”, Angelides underlined.
During the May 22 2011 elections, the final allocation of seats per political party and district, were:
Democratic Rally (DISY) 20 seats, AKEL 19, the Democratic Party (DIKO) nine, the Social Democrats Movement EDEK five, the European Movement (EVROKO) two seats and the Ecologists- Environmentalists Movement one seat.
DISY held seven seats in Nicosia, four in Famagusta and four in Limassol, three in Larnaca, one in Kyrenia and one in Paphos, totaling 20 seats. AKEL held six seats in Nicosia, one in Kyrenia, four in Famagusta, two in Larnaca, five in Limassol and one in Paphos, totaling 19 seats. The Democratic Party had three seats in Nicosia, two in Limassol and one each in the Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca and Paphos districts, totaling nine seats. EDEK had won two seats in Nicosia and one each in the Famagusta, Limassol and Paphos districts, a total of five seats. EVROKO had one seat in Nicosia and one in Famagusta. The Green Party – Environmentalists Movement had one seat in Nicosia.