By Annette Chrysostomou
A new Eurobarometer survey shows that 60 per cent of Cypriots would be more likely to vote in the European parliamentary elections in May 2019 if more young people were standing as candidates.
While 60 per cent of Cypriots say this is important, only 31 per cent of Europeans find the same. Most EU members, 43 per cent, claim they would be inclined to vote if they were better informed about the EU and its impact in daily life.
This is important for Cypriots as well, 42 per cent of whom agreed. 20 per cent of Europeans – and 30 per cent of Cypriots – also say they would be more willing to cast their votes if there were more women candidates.
The survey published on Monday sheds light on the expectations of Europeans for the May 2019 European elections. It also shows that a majority of EU citizens are worried that disinformation campaigns, data breaches and cyberattacks will interfere with electoral processes, and Cypriots are no exception. They are, however, not quite as concerned as the rest of Europe.
Overall, 61 per cent of potential voters worry that elections can be manipulated through cyberattacks, but just 46 per cent of voters in Cyprus. The same goes for those who worry about foreign actors and criminal groups influencing elections, something with which 59 per cent of the EU members agree and 49 per cent in Cyprus.
Most Europeans believe their country is on the way to tackle these threats. 58 per cent think their country is doing what is needed to prevent illegal and fraud activities during elections, as do 64 per cent of Cypriots.
“Our research shows that people are really worried about disinformation. The good thing is that more and more citizens are critical of the information they are offered, and well aware of the dark forces that would like to manipulate what they read, think and ultimately vote for. For the legitimacy of our European democracy it is essential that citizens use their right to vote. And that’s why we all, EU institutions and Member States, must protect our elections and bolster our democracy,” Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission said.
“This survey confirms that Europeans know that the upcoming elections will not be business as usual. They expect actions that will guarantee fair and secure elections and more information about the EU and new faces in politics. We are fighting against illegal data manipulation, countering disinformation and make our elections more resilient. But we also need the full involvement of EU governments and all political parties. We can only address peoples’ concerns if we do this together,” Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality added.
The Eurobarometer survey on democracy and elections was conducted by interviewing 27,474 persons at their homes in 28 EU member states.