As voters drown in ballot papers, some just give up on voting

Though analysts and news junkies may have been pouring over election polls and scrutinising the figures, confusion and disgruntlement are some of the top contenders to ‘win’ in Sunday’s elections.

“I hate that I have to go there and have so many papers to deal with. Could it not be done online? They’ve cut down a whole forest for these elections to take place,” said 31-year-old Christina.

Tree destruction or not, the array of ballots that voters will be handed over is perplexing to say the least.

Depending on where they are voting, the public can receive up to eight ballots in different colours as they choose out of a whopping total of 7,280 candidates for a bewildering number of 3,277 positions. Officials remain confident polls will close at 6pm, but that remains to be seen as voters plough through their piles of papers.

Effectively, people will be voting for Members of European Parliament (MEPs), the new-fangled district governor, mayor, deputy mayor, municipal councillors, school board members, community leader and community council members.

Depending on the area, some of these positions may not be up for grabs i.e. community leader.

“I am both appalled and dismayed that there are eight pieces of paper that I have to fill out, for people most of whom I do not know anything about, or know what they stand for,” Nikolas, 36, said.

“In general, I feel that I’m voting for people in a public position, and I don’t know who’s supporting them.”

The number of candidates is simply so overwhelmingly large, that grasping the information has been challenging for many.

Plus, the ins and outs of the positions in terms of their role, power and support are still unclear for average voters.

MEPs for instance, will have a grand total of 63 candidates from 12 different political parties and two independents.

There are 13 running for district governor, 82 for mayor and 272 for deputy mayor as part of the long-awaited local government reform.

And where municipal councillors are concerned, there are 2,192 interested candidates vying for the position.

Political parties have been fervently fighting for everything that will unfold on Sunday – with allegations of scandals surrounding election interference. But with confusion reigning supreme, many may choose to go for who they know, who made the biggest impression on them, and ignore the rest – if they bother to vote at all.

“My son-in-law is running for deputy mayor, so I’m going to go vote for him and don’t care about the rest,” one woman said.

All these papers, who’s going to deal with them? Can you imagine the elderly having to deal with all this?”

Beyond just voting, it is also the fact of the matter that different ballots require a different number of candidates people can vote for.

For MEPs, there are up to two people that individuals can put an X, + or √next to their name provided it is only one party. Horizontal voting is not yet an option in Cyprus and as such, if someone casts their vote for an independent, then they can no longer vote for another person.

It is one candidate for mayor, deputy mayor and district governor – but could be up to six for municipal councillors, and three for school board members.

“School board members – what on Earth even is that? I have never heard of them before,” 53-year-old Katherine complained.

For others, the answer is far simpler: “I’m not going to vote. I can’t be bothered to deal with this. Also, none of these people deserve my vote,” 62-year-old Ioannis said.

For 31-year-old Katerina, her irritation also stems from the raft of papers her letterbox has been stuffed with. “One political party even brought me a ballot that was already ticked with votes on candidates. Can they just go away?”

She spent a good week scrutinising who her preferred Limassol mayor candidate was only to realise that in her area, she won’t even have that option.

“I’m so done with this.”

The interior ministry has setup a website where people can put their ID and date of birth to see where and what they will vote for.

It has also ensured that different positions people are voting for will be in a different colour.

Only 52-year-old Marina said she wasn’t too phased by these elections. “I know the elections and I have a clear picture of what’s happening. I don’t think it’s easy for a lot of people, I think my dad will be confused because of his older age.”

Her line of work has made it easier for her to understand things as she works in the media industry.

“I looked things up, I know which elections I can vote for and I’ve got four.” One of the positions is running uncontested so effectively, she’s got three positions to vote for.

Voting begins at 7am and is expected to end at 6pm with a one-hour lunch break. With the way things stand, it may be quite the feat if everything is wrapped on time.

List of candidates for main positions and who’s supporting them

District governor

  • Nicosia
    • Constantinos Yiorkadjis (Currently the mayor)
      • Disy, Diko, Edek, Depa, Animal Party
    • Andreas Assiotis
      • Akel
  • Limassol
    • Former deputy shipping minister Vasilis Demetriades
      • Disy, Depa
    • Yiannis Tsouloftas (former sewerage board director)
      • Akel, Diko, Edek, Green Party
    • Christos Vakanas (former Cyprus College director
  • Paphos
    • Costakis Constantinou
      • Disy
    • Charalambos Pittokopitis (former Diko MP)
      • Akel, Diko
    • Marios Tselepos
  • Larnaca
    • Angelos Hadjicharalambous
      • Akel, Diko, Depa, Green Party
    • Evangelos Evangelides (Aradippou mayor)
      • Disy
  • Famagusta
    • Yiannis Karousos (former transport minister, Ayia Napa mayor)
      • Disy, Depa
    • Andros Ktoridis
      • Akel
    • Theodoros Pyrillis (Paralimni mayor)


  • Nicosia
    • Nicos Tornaritis (Disy MP)
      • Disy, Diko, Depa, Animal Party
    • Charalambos Prountzos
      • Akel, Edek, Volt
    • Panayiotis Mentzis (Zanettos)
      • Green party
    • Constantinos Demetriades
  • Limassol
    • Nicos Nicolaides (incumbent Limassol mayor)
      • Disy, Depa
    • Yiannis Armeftis
      • Akel, Diko, Edek, Volt
    • Christos Michaelides
      • Green party, Animal Party
  • Paphos
    • Phedon Phedonos (incumbent Paphos mayor)
      • Disy, Depa
    • Evros Loizides
      • Diko, Edek, Akel
  •  Larnaca
    • Andreas Vyras (incumbent Larnaca mayor)
      • Akel, Diko, Dipa, Volt, Animal Party
    • Michalis Ppekris
      • Disy
    • Sotiris Ioannou
      • Elam
  • Ayia Napa         
    • Christos Zannetou
      • Disy, Edek, Dipa, Animal Party
    • Martis Marti
      • Akel, Diko
    • Neophytos Michael
    • Kyriacos Tsiakkourmas
  • Paralimni – Dherynia
    • Michalis Zouvanis,
      • Akel, Diko
    • Panayiotis Kyzas
      • Animal Party
    • Giorgos Nikolettos
      • Disy, Edek, Dipa
    • Loukas Polykarpou
    • Costas Fytiris