While Cyprus goes to the polls on Sunday to vote in local and European parliament elections on Sunday, the European Union’s 26 other member states have been simultaneously holding European parliament elections between Thursday and Sunday.

Just as Cypriots abroad have been able to vote in Belgium, Greece, and the United Kingdom on Sunday, citizens of other EU countries in Cyprus have been able to cast their votes for candidates for the European parliament from their home countries.

One of those countries was Portugal, which on Saturday and Sunday transformed its embassy on Nicosia’s busy Makariou street into a small polling station, manned by three Portuguese citizens living in Cyprus and the embassy’s consular section head Henrique Capelas.

Capelas on Sunday told the Cyprus Mail a total of 343 Portuguese citizens are registered to vote in Cyprus, but said that given Portugal’s electoral laws, the figure is subject to change, omitting some voters and including some who would not be able to or would not wish to vote in Cyprus.

In addition, he explained, a recent change to Portuguese electoral law has opened the possibilities of who can vote where, given that they are Portuguese.

“These are the first European parliament elections in which Portuguese citizens can vote anywhere, thanks to a new integrated online system which allows voters to scan their identity card, and for polling station staff to see if they have already voted,” he explained.

The new computer system is connected with every polling station in Portugal and every Portuguese polling station outside the country, and therefore allows polling station staff to immediately discern whether an individual has the right to vote and whether they have already voted in the same election simply by scanning their identity card.

Capelas gave an example of a pair of Portuguese tourists who had arrived in Cyprus on Sunday evening and then went to the embassy in Nicosia to vote on Sunday morning. With their identity cards scanned, they were able to cast their vote.

He also pointed out that the embassy in Nicosia covers Lebanon and Syria, but that he did not expect any Portuguese citizens in either country to travel to Cyprus to vote on Sunday.