Cyprus is holding the country’s parliamentary elections today, Sunday, May 30.
Registered voters go to the polls across Cyprus to elect a new House of Representatives, amidst the pandemic which also affected the election campaign.
People manning the polling centers and voters will have to observe the measures in place by health protocols, while for the first time ten mobile polling stations will give people infected with COVID-19 the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
Cypriot nationals will get to elect 56 of the 80 members of the island’s House of Representatives.
The 80 members of the House of Representatives are elected from six multi-member constituencies, with the number of seats allocated according to the population of each area.
Of the 80, 56 are elected by Greek Cypriots and 24 by Turkish Cypriots. However, since 1964, the Turkish Cypriot seats are unfilled and the House of Representatives has de facto had 56 seats since its enlargement in the 1980s.
The elections are held using open list proportional representation; voters vote for a party and can then cast one preferential vote for a candidate on their party’s list for every four seats available in their constituency (party leaders or other candidates heading coalitions are not required to receive preferential votes to be elected).
Seats are allocated using the Hare quota, with any remaining seats allocated to lists that won at least one seat or parties that received at least 3.6 percent of the vote.
The main parties that take place in Cyprus’ election
In total 15 party combinations with 651 candidates are competing for the people’s vote.
The main political parties of Cyprus are the Democratic Rally, the Progressive Party of Working People, the Democratic Party, the Movement for Social Democracy, the Movement of Ecologists – Citizens’ Cooperation, the National Popular Front, the Citizens’ Alliance, the Solidarity Movement, and the Democratic Front.
Current polls give a short but steady lead to the center-right liberal-conservative Democratic rally party, followed by the communist Progressive Party of Working People.
The last parliamentary elections took place in 2016. Then, the Democratic Rally won 18 seats, while the Progressive party of working people won 16.
It has to be noted that Cyprus is a Presidential republic, similar to what we know from the United States and France, compared to the more common Primeministerial system that we see in Europe.
Who has the right to vote?
Citizens aged 18 or older may vote in Presidential, legislative, local, and European Parliamentary elections in Cyprus.
European Union citizens may also vote in local and European Parliamentary elections.
In order to vote in legislative elections, citizens must have lived in Cyprus for at least six months.
In order to vote in local elections, Cypriot as well as other European Union citizens must reside in a municipality or community of the republic.
In order to vote in European Parliamentary elections, Cypriot citizens or European Union citizens must have resided in Cyprus or any other European Union country for six months.
Voting by proxy is not allowed in Cyprus.