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Akel reps say they saw irregularities in Limassol mayoral vote

Nicos Nicolaides won by nine votes

Akel representatives at Limassol polling stations during December’s municipal elections told the electoral court on Wednesday that they saw irregularities taking place during the vote count.

The electoral court, following a request by both sides, set a number of hearings in the case of a recount for last December’s Limassol municipal election which Nicos Nicolaides won by just nine votes.

The court gave seven days to the applicant – the side of former mayor Andreas Christou – to provide more detail on claims that there was no uniformity to the criteria applied by the over 100 polling station supervisors regarding null votes.

It also gave the legal service five days to evaluate the documents concerning the receipt of ballot boxes by the officials in charge of the polling stations.

During Wednesday’s hearing, a witness told the court that the procedure followed by the head of the polling station he was sent to as an Akel representative was not proper as the count did not take place in the presence of the party reps. Another witness told court that in his polling station, there were ballot papers where the preferred candidates were marked with other symbols than the permitted ones, and the head of the station, instead of counting them as void, decided to count them in favour of Nicos Nicolaides.

The third witness that took the stand said that party representatives did not have the opportunity to inspect questionable ballot papers in his polling station, despite their protests.

All testimonies were challenged by the state legal services and Nicolaides’ lawyers, questioning why the witnesses did not file any complaints at the time.

So far, six witnesses have taken the stand. The hearings will continue on Friday and on June 16 and 28.

The supreme court rejected last month a request to disclose a number of ballots but gave the go ahead for the process to determine whether Limassol’s mayoral election votes would be recounted. Former mayor Andreas Christou, his party Akel, and other supporters, filed for a recount after he lost by just nine votes last December.

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