Details of the 50 polling stations to be set up near the buffer zone where Turkish Cypriots will be able to cast their votes during the European Parliament elections of May 26, were announced on Tuesday.
The Chief Returning Officer announced that in the Nicosia district, there would be two polling stations at the Kato Pyrgos gymnasium, two at the offices of the Flasou community council, seven at the Astromeritis primary school, eight at the Ayios Dhometios multi-purpose centre, four at the School for the Deaf in Engomi, six at the central offices of the department of urban planning and housing, and eight at the Phaneromeni gymnasium in the city’s old town.
There will also be four polling stations in Larnaca Regional Lyceum in the Larnaca district.
In the Famagusta district there will be three polling stations at the Aheritou primary school, three at the B’ Dherynia primary school and three at the public and community kindergarten of Dherynia.
This concerns the around 81,000 Turkish Cypriot who are automatically included in the special election list of the European elections and are eligible to vote, an announcement said.
Authorities said they have made arrangements for Turkish-speaking officers at those polling stations. To avoid delays or problems due to the increased numbers of Turkish Cypriots crossing that day, arrangements have been made for additional staff and equipment at the Ledra Street, Ledra Palace and Dherynia crossing points, which are expected to be the busiest. The Turkish Cypriot authorities will also place additional personnel at the Nicosia and Famagusta crossing points.
In 2014, less than 2,000 Turkish Cypriots voted, while hundreds of them were turned away due to bureaucratic and technical problems that excluded them from the electoral list. Although it is not possible to estimate how many of those 81,000 will actually cross to the southern part of the island to vote, researchers expect a much higher turnout compared to the previous EP elections due to the disappointment with the solution process to the presence of strong Turkish Cypriot candidates.
A record number of nine Turkish Cypriot candidates have submitted their candidacy for this year’s European Parliament elections, which also saw left-wing Akel – field Turkish Cypriot academic Niyazi Kizilyurek among its six candidates. Five other Turkish Cypriots are running together with journalist Sever Levent of Afrika newspaper as part of his Jasmine Movement; and two others are running from the Cyprus Socialist Party.