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Cyprus

Parliament rejects cross-voting bill

By George Psyllides

PARLIAMENT on Friday rejected three proposals that would have introduced cross voting in local, parliamentary, and European Parliament elections

The three proposals were rejected by the majority of MPs, mainly from Akel, Diko, and Edek.

Cross voting, a system allowing voters to opt for candidates from more than one party, came to the fore in 2015 but never looked like going through as the three opposition parties were against it from the start.

Ruling Disy proposed cross-voting in local elections while the Green party submitted bills to introduce the system in parliamentary and EP elections.

During the discussion, Disy MP Nicos Nouris said cross voting strengthened the voice of the people.

Nouris said the party’s interest was not something recent, pointing out that there was a congress decision on cross voting.

“Listening to civil society, we maintain the same political position,” he said.

Green party MP wondered whether the parties opposing the proposals only wanted their hardcore supporters to show up in elections.

“People are abandoning us, turning to abstention with disgust,” he said.

The current system serves certain people who only cared about the party audience, Perdikis said, adding that cross voting was the medicine for abstention.

Akel MP and head of the House interior committee, Eleni Mavrou, conceded that political life was decayed but that was caused by failure to fulfil pledges and serving other interests.

Her party, she added, was ready to discuss modernising the political system but cross voting was not the remedy.

She suggested that selecting individuals would worsen depoliticization and favour wealthy candidates with access to the mass media, returning democracy to the hands of the elit.

Diko MP Panicos Leonidou said it would elect individuals who were not bound to election programmes and allow big parties to manipulate the electorate to vote for certain candidates.

The argument was echoed by Edek chairman Marinos Sizopoulos who also added that his party’s unwavering position was not to change the electoral law a year before elections.

 

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