Voting started at 7am across Cyprus on Sunday, with 698,896 registered voters eligible for the election of six MEPs and local authority posts.

Chief returning officer Elikkos Elia confirmed the timely opening of all 1,847 polling stations in the Republic, along with ten stations in Greece. Additional polling stations in Belgium and the UK opened later, at 9 am and 10am Cyprus time, respectively.

Elia assured a smooth start to the process, which continued until noon, with voting set to resume at 1pm and close at 6pm, with provisions for extensions until midnight if necessary.

President Nikos Christodoulides cast his vote at Yeroskipou primary school, stressing the importance of elections and their direct impact on everyday issues. He acknowledged challenges in the new local governance system while expressing confidence in overcoming them.

Regarding the European elections, he said “Europe is of utmost importance to us. We want to have a role and a voice.”

“As you know, the most important thing for Cyprus is being a part of the European family,” he said.

“Today is a celebration of democracy. The results will be entirely respected, and tomorrow marks a new day.

“The message today is that local governance, with its significantly increased responsibilities, has an important role to play. It affects each and every one of us, and within this framework, we should participate massively in the electoral process,” Christodoulides said.

Former President Nicos Anastasiades voted in Limassol, calling the day “a celebration of democracy and European values.” He noted the complexity of voter choice amidst a broad array of qualified candidates.

“Today is a very important day for our country,” he said. “We are called to vote both as Cypriot and European citizens.”

Diko president Nikolas Papadopoulos encouraged informed decision-making and urged voters to select candidates capable of effective representation.

He stressed the significance of the elections, expressing confidence in the “maturity and democratic culture of the Cypriot people.”

“Today is a day for the citizens, for democracy, and we are making important decisions. These elections are crucial for local governance and for our country’s future in Europe.”

Papadopoulos urged everyone to head to the polls and exercise their voting rights. “We all need to choose the most suitable candidates, those who can make important decisions for local governance and represent us with honour in the European Parliament.

Marginalisation is not an option. Society must have a voice in local governance, and Cyprus must have a strong, reliable voice in the European Parliament,” he concluded.

Akel’s General Secretary Stefanos Stefanou stressed citizen engagement, urging voters to shape the future of Cyprus and Europe through their votes.

“There is no room for pre-election statements,” he told journalists. “We said what we had to say in the pre-election campaigns for both the local government and the European elections.

“Now is the time of the citizens. They are invited to send messages for both Cyprus and Europe. We call on everyone to use their power not to let others vote for them. It’s going to be a long day. I think everything will be fine,” Stefanou said.

Attendance rates across Cyprus districts at noon varied, with Nicosia recording 21.3 per cent for local elections and 23.9 per cent for European elections. Limassol saw rates at 30.4 per cent and 18.2 per cent, Larnaca at 35.2 per cent and 21 per cent, Paphos at 40 per cent and 21.3 per cent, and Famagusta at 39.8 per cent and 18.8 per cent. Overseas, attendance rates were at 18.8 per cent and for local elections and at 17 per cent for European elections. In the north, rates stood at 2.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent.

Overall in Cyprus, the attendance rate stood at 25.4 per cent for local elections and at 19 per cent for European elections.

Meanwhile, police are investigating a Nicosia incident where a 58-year-old tore ballot papers at a voting centre.

The man also allegedly damaged three out of six ballots. He has not been arrested, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said.

“Police are optimistic about preventing similar incidents. They’re coordinating closely with electoral officials,” he added.

“The operational strategy is in full swing since 6am, with additional patrols deployed to maintain electoral integrity.”