Political parties on Wednesday officially announced their candidates for June’s European Parliament elections.

The announcements were made one after another at Nicosia’s Filoxenia conference centre.

Disy leader Annita Demetriou led her announcement of her party’s candidates on the theme of strength, saying her party has the “strongest team” of candidates and that “a strong Disy means a strong Cyprus in Europe.”

“These elections are particularly critical because there is no room for experimentation … People know who can represent them well, who first believed in the European perspective.”

She added that her party can “face all these challenges before us, not with nice-sounding slogans, not with airy words, but to ensure Cyprus’ European perspective.”

She said she has “confidence in people’s judgement” ahead of the vote. Disy belongs to the European People’s Party (EPP)

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Akel party candidates

Earlier, Akel were among the first to announce their candidates, with party leader Stefanos Stefanou saying his party “does not just go to Europe to clap our hands, but to make demands”.

“First of all, we demand better for Cyprus and its rights, but we also demand another, different Europe. We demand a Europe of peace, of international law, of real solidarity.”

Speaking of his candidates, he said Akel had a “very strong ballot paper” and one which “puts gender equality into practice by including three women and three men”.

He added that Akel’s candidate list “brings Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots together, for Cyprus, for its people, for Europe as a whole”. Akel were the first major party to include a Turkish Cypriot, Niyazi Kizilyurek, on their party list in 2019. He was duly elected and is once again on this year’s ballot paper.

Stefanou went on to say that his party “demands a better Cyprus and a free and united Europe which is not only in the pocket of big interests and bureaucracy but works in the interests of its people”.

He said his party’s candidate list is “addressed to the people”, and added his belief that his party will once again win two of Cyprus’ six seats in the European Parliament. Akel is a member of Europen party group The Left (GUE/NGL).


Diko party candidates

When he presented his party’s candidates, Diko leader Nicholas Papadopoulos highlighted his party’s historical ties with Cyprus’ European Union accession, noting that it was President Spyros Kyprianou who signed Cyprus into the customs union and his own father Tassos Papadopoulos who led the country into the EU and into the Eurozone.

He also used the occasion to speak of how the Annan plan, on which the referendum was held exactly 20 years ago on Wednesday, would have led to Cyprus becoming a “protectorate”, but that “fortunately, our people overwhelmingly rejected it … defending, justice, dignity, and our history”.

He also made reference to Diko’s membership of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) European grouping.


Edek party candidates

Edek arrived later, with the party aiming to win back the one seat they won in 2019, but lost control of when MEP Demetris Papadakis left the party.

Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos said Cypriot voters “will want to strengthen the Cypriot presence at the European Parliament with participation and representation in the second-largest party group, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D)”.

He added that the S&D group “played a decisive and essential role in Cyprus’ accession to the European Union in 2004”.

Papadakis is not standing as a candidate this time around, but has endorsed the Green Party, who were also among the first to announce their candidate list, with party leader Giorgos Perdikis saying his party aims “for a green and progressive Europe”.

He called on voters to “cast green onto the black, which is in our lives, which plagues every citizen, which is the corruption, the conmen in power, the environmental disasters, the climate crisis, the poor management of migrants and refugees, the cost-of-living crisis, and the Cyprus problem.”

“We can deal with this blackness,” he said.


MEP candidates from the Greens

The Greens will also have a Turkish Cypriot on their ballot paper this year, with Oz Karahan speaking on Thursday morning. He called on Turkish Cypriot voters to “not give space to fascist parties”.

The Green Party is a member of the European group the European Greens.

Later, Volt presented their candidates, with co-leader Charilaos Velaris declaring that his party is “here to stay”. Fellow co-leader Alexandra Attalides said her party will “vigorously promote a solution to the Cyprus problem”.

“These elections are pivotal, both for Cyprus and for Europe. They will determine the political balances, which will determine both Europe’s and Cyprus’ future,” she said.

Volt are the third party with a presence in Cyprus’ parliament to have a Turkish Cypriot on their candidate list, Hulusi Kilim. Volt are a member of the Greens/EFA European group.


Elam party candidates

Polling suggests Elam may win their first ever seat at the European Parliament in June, and leader Christos Christou said the party “has an appointment with history on June 9” when he presented his party’s candidates.

He also decried austerity policies implemented by the European Commission and “the uncontrolled situation regarding migration”, and called for “the preservation of principles, values, and institutions such as the traditional family.”

Dipa were among the last parties to present their candidates, with party leader Marios Garoyian saying that “Cyprus, as an integral part of the European Union, is decisively, drastically, and directly affected by what is happening in Europe.”

He added that Europe is Cyprus’ “oxygen”, and called for “mature attitudes” to prevail on the issues of the day.

“What is needed is wisdom, prudence, responsibility, collectiveness, collaborations, and consent. As the European Union itself works,” he said. Dipa are a member of the Renew Europe European group.

Meanwhile, influencer Feidias Panyiotou also formally submitted his candidacy, in the presence of his father, who is a priest, as did Andronikos Zervides, as an independent candidate, and the Animal Party.