Cyprus holds parliamentary elections

Athens: Cypriots go to the polls on Sunday to elect 56 members of parliament for the next five years.

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In the 80-strong legislature, 56 seats are reserved for Greek Cypriots and 24 others for Turkish Cypriots. Since the 1974 Turkish invasion and the partition of the island, the seats of Turkish Cypriots remain vacant.

Another three lawmakers will be elected from the island’s religious minorities of Armenian, Maronite and Catholic background. They have an observer status in the parliament.

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A total of 659 candidates are running in the elections, of whom 651 represent political parties and eight are independents. According to local polls, out of 15 parties nominated, only six or seven will be able to overcome the 3.6% vote barrier to get into parliament.

The pro-presidential center-right Democratic Rally, which won some 30.7% of the vote in 2016, is projected to get 21% this year, while the opposition Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus can receive around 19% of the vote as opposed to 25.67% it won five years ago, according to last week’s survey conducted by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

The elections are taking place against the backdrop of major corruption scandals, which involve the issuance of “golden passports” in exchange for investments. Migration issues are also high on agenda, as the authorities warn about the emergency situation, saying that the country is no longer able to take in undocumented migrants and calling for the European Commission to interfere.

In addition, the government’s COVID-19 response may take center stage in the election.

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