Cyprus Mail

House equalises voting registration prior to EP elections

The House plenum on Friday decided to amend the law that requires voters to register for the European Parliament elections.

The amendment, when it comes into effect following publication in the next Official Gazette, allows for automatic registration directly by means of the population registry.

The bill was aimed at harmonising national legislation with an EU Council Decision amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage.

The amendment on automatic registration to the electoral rolls, was submitted by Green’s MP, Giorgos Perdikis, and passed with 32 votes in favour and 11 against.

The government, Perdikis said, had modified the bill in question so that Turkish Cypriots living in the north would not be required to sign an affidavit to register on the electoral roll for the May ballot.

This regulation, however, Perdikis said, had created an inequality at the expense of 70,000 Greek Cypriots who had to apply for registration. It has also affected some 20,000 Turkish Cypriots who, for a number of reasons, have given their permanent residence address as being in the government-controlled areas.

The amendment, he said, created equality among Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot voters.

According to the relevant law, in effect since 2014, Turkish Cypriots automatically obtained voting rights when they acquired Republic of Cyprus ID cards – this concerns ID cards issued since the mid-2000s – and whose official registered address is in the north.

This meant those Turkish Cypriots who had declared an address in the south of the island had to change it to an address in the north to qualify for the automatic voting rights to benefit from the automatic registration to vote in May’s EU parliament elections.

Prior to the amendment, anyone who had a registered home address in the government-controlled areas had to apply for registration on the electoral roll, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

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