Elections in Cyprus
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politics and government of
Cyprus elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The election of the President is direct, by universal suffrage and secret ballot. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The election of a new President takes place before the expiration of the five-year period of office of the outgoing President so as to enable the newly elected President to be invested on the date that period expires.
Elections are managed by the Central Elections Office which is part of the Ministry of Interior. The Permanent Secretary of the MoI serves as the General Returning Officer (GRO). At the district level, the permanent chief district officers act as District Returning Officers.
Voting was compulsory and every citizen over the age of 18 had to vote, by law. On May 31, 2017, the cabinet approved a bill abolishing compulsory voting in elections, formally ending a law that has been inactive for years.
Candidates for election must be citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and over 35 years of age. If there is only one candidate for election, he is declared elected.
A candidate to be elected needs more than 50% of the votes validly cast. If none of the candidates attains the required majority the election is repeated on the corresponding day of the following week between the two candidates who received the greater number of votes. The candidate who receives the greatest number of votes at these repeated elections is deemed elected.
If there is a vacancy in the office of Presidential, the vacancy is filled by a by-election taking place within a period not exceeding 45 days of the occurrence of such a vacancy.
In the event of a temporary absence or incapacity of the President to perform his duties, the President of the House of Representatives acts for him.
The House of Representatives (Vouli Antiprosópon/Temsilciler Meclisi) has 59 members elected for a five-year term, 56 members by proportional representation and 3 observer members representing the Maronite, Roman-Catholic and Armenian minorities. 24 seats are allocated to the Turkish community. Cyprus has a multi-party system, with two or three strong parties and a third party that is electorally successful.
According to article 62(1) of the Constitution the number of representatives is 50. Out of this number 35 are elected by the Greek Cypriot Community and 15 by the Turkish Cypriot Community. The Turkish Cypriot seats remain vacant since 1964 when the Turkish Cypriot representatives withdrew from the House.
However, for the smooth running of the House of Representatives and of the Committees in particular, the House decided in July 1985 by adopting law 124, to increase the seats to 80. Of these 56 (70%) representatives are elected by the Greek Cypriot Community and 24 (30%) by the Turkish Cypriot Community, as provided in article 62(2) of the Constitution.
2018 presidential election
|Candidate||Party||First round||Second round|
|Nicos Anastasiades||Democratic Rally||137,268||35.51||215,281||55.99|
|Stavros Malas||Progressive Party of Working People||116,920||30.24||169,243||44.01|
|Nikolas Papadopoulos||Democratic Party||99,508||25.74|
|Giorgos Lillikas||Citizens' Alliance||8,419||2.18|
|Michail Mina||Organisation of Justice Fighters||662||0.17|
|Source: European Polling Report, Central Electoral Service|
2016 legislative election
2013 presidential election
The British colonial administration drafted a constitution for Cyprus a few years after Cyprus was bought from the Ottomans (1878). The legislative assembly was to have 9 Greek Cypriot members, 3 Turkish Cypriot members (all elected) and 6 British ex officio members. The vote of the British head of the assembly weighted more in case of a 50%-50% disagreement. Thus traditionally the Turkish Cypriot and British members would cooperate and pass legislation despite the disagreements of the Greek Cypriot members. In 1931 Necati Bey, a Turkish Cypriot supporter of Kemal Atatürk was elected (in previous years Turkish Cypriot members were hailed from the Ottoman ruling class). Necati Bey agreed with the Greek Cypriot members on several issues. This made the British governor, Sir Ronald Storrs to ignore the assembly when passing the bills. Angry Greek Cypriot members started a riot and the constitution was abolished.
The first municipal elections happened in 1943. Two of the winning mayors were members of AKEL: Ploutis Servas in Limassol and Adam Adamantos in Famagusta, and the other six where Greek nationalists. In 1946 the situation was reversed: 6 were either members or supported by AKEL, including Ioannis Klerides in Nicosia.
The first presidential elections for independent Cyprus took place in 1960. The bulk of EOKA supporters were in favour of Makarios III, whereas AKEL backed Ioannis Kleridis (father of Glafkos Klerides). Klerides was also backed by independent politicians, both left wingers like Ploutis Servas and right wingers like Themistoklis Dervis. The Turkish Cypriot community elected Fazil Küçük for the position of vice president unopposed.
The next elections were due in 1965, but were postponed as a result of the extraordinary situation created by the intercommunal strife. The term of office was extended by a law of the House of Representatives.
President Makarios distanced himself from his earlier enosis convictions in his 1968 presidential campaign and argued for the independence of Cyprus. He declared that Enosis was wishable but independence was possible. His opponent was the psychiatrist Takis Evdokas who was campaigning for Enosis. Makarios won the election. Turkish Cypriots were not participating in the government (see Cyprus dispute) but they had separate elections were Fazil Küçük was reelected as vice president.
In 1973, Makarios was reelected unopposed.
Following the death of Makarios in 1977, the then President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, assumed duties temporarily until 1978 elections.
In the 1978 election, Glafkos Klerides was backed by his party, Democratic Rally whereas Spyros Kyprianou was backed by the other Greek Cypriot parties. Following the kidnapping of Kyprianou's son, Achilleas, Klerides did not run for the election and Kyprianou won.
In 1983, Kyprianou's Democratic Party forged an alliance with AKEL based on an agreed agenda: the so-called minimum program. Kyprianou was reelected in the presidential elections of that year. He was opposed by Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the right-wing Democratic Rally party and Vassos Lyssarides of the Socialist party, EDEK.
By 1985, AKEL was not satisfied with Kyprianou's policies, especially his position in negotiations (see Cyprus dispute for more) and the partnership collapsed. AKEL found its new candidate for the 1988 election in George Vasiliou who managed to get to the second round of elections together with Glafkos Klerides. Kyprianou did not get enough votes. With the added support of EDEK, whose candidate Vasos Lyssaridis did not do very well in the first round, Vasiliou won the second round.
While the Democratic Rally had been supporting Vasiliou in negotiating the Ghali set of ideas, as the 1993 elections were approaching it started criticising Vasiliou for not demanding enough. At the same time a partnership of Kyprianou's democratic party and Lyssaridis's EDEK was rejecting the spirit of the Ghali ideas all together and argued that both Vasiliou and Klerides were equally willing to compromise. The partnership received strong support by the Church and its candidate was Paschalis Paschalidis.
Paschalidis didn't make it to the second round, however the democratic party made an agreement with Klerides and supported him. Thus Klerides was elected in 1993,defeating George Vassiliou, who again ran as an Independent candidate supported by AKEL and ADISOK, forming a government with members of both Democratic Rally and the Democratic Party.
The main issue of the 1998 election campaign was the purchase of S-300 antiaircraft missiles from Russia. Klerides was backed by EDEK whereas the democratic party and AKEL were backing George Iacovou, ex minister in the Kyprianou and Vasiliou governments. Klerides won the election.
For the 2003 election, EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou declared himself candidate and the democratic rally initially backed him. Because of the course of negotiations Clerides asked to remain president for another couple of years, so the democratic rally backed him. This made EDEK turn to the opposition coalition already formed between AKEL and Democratic Party. The leader of the latter, Tassos Papadopoulos was chosen as a candidate. In the meantime the attorney general Alekos Markides disagreed with his party, Democratic Rally and ran as an independent candidate. Papadopoulos won from the first round.
The 1960 parliamentary elections were contested by three parties and a number of independent candidates. The right-wing "Patriot Front" won 30 seats, left-wing AKEL won five seats while the Pancyprian Union of Fighters did not win any seats. No parliamentary elections were held in 1965 because of the prevailing intercommunal tension.
Five parties contested the 5 July 1970 elections. Three of these, the Unified Party, the Progressive Front, and the opposition Democratic National Party, were right-wing; one, the Unified Democratic Union of Centre (EDEK), of the centre; and the other, AKEL, left-wing.
The third parliamentary elections took place on 5 September 1976, two years after the Turkish invasion. It was contested by the Democratic Rally, the Democratic Front(Democratic Party), socialist EDEK and left-wing AKEL. The right-wing Democratic Rally received about 26% of the votes, but due to a coalition ranged against it, was left with no Deputies.
The fourth parliamentary elections took place on 24 May 1981. The elections were contested by the right-wing Democratic Rally, the centre Democratic Party, the New Democratic Front and the Union of Centre, socialist EDEK and left-wing AKEL and PAME.
In the above election, a type of proportional system with threshold was used.
The fifth parliamentary elections took place on 8 December 1985. Following a law passed by the House of Representatives the number of seats allocated to the Greek Cypriot community was increased from 35 to 56. The number of Turkish Cypriot seats was raised from 15 to 24.
The elections were contested by four parties - the right-wing Democratic Rally, the centre Democratic Party, the socialist EDEK and left-wing AKEL - as well as independent candidates.
Vassos Lyssarides, leader of socialist party EDEK, was elected House President. His candidature was supported by his party and by the Democratic Party.
The sixth parliamentary elections took place on 19 May 1991. They were contested by the following political parties or party groupings - the Democratic Rally Party in coalition with the Liberal Party, the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party EDEK, AKEL-Left-New Forces Party and two new parties the Refugee Movement (PAKOP) and the Reformed Left (ADISOK), a splinter group from AKEL.
Alexis Galanos (Democratic Party) was elected House President with the joint votes of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Rally - Liberals coalition.
The seventh parliamentary elections took place on 26 May 1996. They were held under a newly adopted system of proportional representation according to which a party receiving 1/56 of the valid votes or (1,79%) elected a House member. The new voting system encouraged the participation of more parties in the elections. The following political parties took part in the 1996 elections - the Democratic Rally - Liberal Party coalition, the New Horizons Party, the Democratic Party, the Movement of Free Democrats (of former President Vassiliou), the Ecologist Movement, the Socialist Party EDEK, the new Left (ADISOK) and the AKEL-Left-New Forces Party.
Spyros Kyprianou was elected House President.
Constitution of Cyprus has no mention of referendum (as of 2013). Cyprus is one of only two states not to hold the referendum on joining the European Union (the other being the United Kingdom). The only referendum to take place in independent Cyprus was a referendum on the Annan Plan which was held both in the Republic of Cyprus and the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on 24 April 2004. Before Cypriot independence there was also a Cypriot Enosis referendum in 1950, which was unofficial and was held in Greek Orthodox churches.