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May election will be costlier than any other due to Covid measures

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The upcoming elections will be costlier than any other as a result of measures that will be followed as part of coronavirus protocols, chief returning officer Menelaos Vasiliou said on Monday.

The parliamentary elections will be held on Sunday May 30. The main concern is mobile polling stations, which will be made available for those self-isolating as positive cases of coronavirus the day of the elections.

“We are talking about people who have not yet been infected with the virus,” Vasiliou said. “By May 28 we will hopefully know how many units will be needed based on demand and the location of the applicants”.

There are 557,589 registered voters eligible to vote at the parliamentary elections, including Turkish Cypriots with identity cards issued by the Republic of Cyprus and an address in government-controlled areas. Among voters, 68,209 are newly registered.

It is not possible to know whether election results will be announced on the night of May 30, he explained. “The goal is to remain in a close timeframe and announce results around 8pm, but with voting processes a little different this time around, we cannot say with certainly when results will be ready”.

With regards to the coronavirus measures that will be in force at polling stations, Vasiliou said that the health ministry is still finalising the relevant protocols.

He also said that demand for additional staff and police to man the mobile polling stations means that these elections have exceeded the budget.

In addition to the 1,150 polling stations that will operate on the island, expats will be able to vote at four polling stations in Athens, two in Thessaloniki and four in London.

Polling stations for the election of representatives from the Maronite, Armenian and Latin religious groups will be finalised shortly after candidacies are announced.

Polling stations will be staffed in the coming week, and the printing of ballots will begin on May 21.

Anyone working in elections, especially those who will work on the day, will be able to get vaccinated regardless of their age, Vasiliou said, explaining that the goal is to fully vaccinate staff in order to smooth out the process.

Vaccination is optional but seen as an extra measure for the protection of both the staff and voters, he concluded.

Meantime it was announced that candidacies will be submitted on May 12, from 9am to 12.30pm. The venue is the Filoxenia conference centre in Nicosia.

The submissions schedule on May 12 will be as follows, at 20-minute intervals from 9am: the ‘Afipnisi 2020’ (Awakening 2020) candidates, plus independent candidates Andreas Christou and Spyros Chrysanthou, from 9am to 9.20am; the ‘Active Citizens – United Hunters Movement’ candidates, plus the ‘Allagi Genias’ (Generation Change) candidates; the Disy candidates; the Diko candidates; and the Animal Party, plus the Edek candidates.

Next up will be the Greens’ candidates, and independent candidate Chrysanthos Mardapittas; the Solidarity party’s candidates; the Democratic Front plus Akel; the ‘Famagusta for Cyprus’ movement plus the ‘Patriotic Coalition’ movement; the Elam party and the ‘Pnoi Laou’ (People’s Spirit) movement.

 

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