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CYPRUS
Vouli Antiprosopon (House of Representatives)
LAST ELECTIONS

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Vouli Antiprosopon / House of Representatives
Structure of parliament Unicameral
BACKGROUND
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 22 May 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for the 56 members of the House of Representatives representing the Greek-Cypriot community on the normal expiry of their term of office.
The 2011 elections were the tenth to be held since the Republic of Cyprus was established in 1960. The country has been divided between the north - inhabited by Turkish Cypriots - and the south - dominated by Greek Cypriots - since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island in response to a Greek-backed military coup. In 1983, the north declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

In the previous elections held in May 2006 for the 56 seats reserved for the Greek Cypriot community (see note 1), the parties in the ruling coalition took 38 seats and the opposition Democratic Rally (DISY) won the remainder. The ruling coalition comprised the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL, 18 seats), the Democratic Party (DIKO, 11 seats), the Movement of Social Democrats (EDEK, five seats) the European Party (EK, three seats) and the Ecologists-Environmentalists Movement (Cyprus Green Party or KOP, one seat). In June, Mr. Demetris Christofias (AKEL) was re-elected Speaker.

In February 2008, Speaker Christofias - a native of a village in northern Cyprus - won the presidential elections, having pledged to end the division of the island. Mr. Marios Garoyian (DIKO) succeeded him as Speaker.

President Christofias formed a coalition government comprising the AKEL, the DIKO and the EDEK. Upon assuming the post, he started talks with Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat (Turkish Republican Party, CTP).

President Christofias' proposals for a federal State included the rotation of the presidency between the two communities (see note 2). In February 2010, the EDEK withdrew from the coalition government, criticizing the President for making unilateral concessions in reference to the proposed rotation. The negotiations made slow progress over property rights and territorial limits, then stalled after the April 2010 presidential elections in Northern Cyprus, in which Mr. Dervis Eroglu of the pro-independence National Unity Party was elected.

In February 2011, the House of Representatives voted to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace programme, the final step for Cyprus to join NATO. The DISY, the DIKO, the EDEK and the EK supported the resolution. However, President Christofias (AKEL) vetoed it, stating that such membership was not in line with his vow to achieve a peace deal with Turkish Cypriots. The DIKO, led by Speaker Garoyian, criticized its coalition partner, deeming the President's veto unconstitutional (see note 3). The EDEK criticized the President for not respecting the decision of the House of Representatives. AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou defended the President's decision, arguing that the 1974 military intervention had been executed by NATO.

Prior to the 2011 elections, Cyprus had recorded slow economic growth and rising unemployment. The AKEL-led government had reduced the number of civil servants by 2 per cent since December 2010. In January 2011, the government introduced a five per cent value-added tax (VAT) on food and beverages, excluding spirits, wines and soft drinks.

In all, 406 candidates from 10 parties and six independents were running (see note 4). Mr. Kyprianou's AKEL and Speaker Garoyian's DIKO were challenged by the DISY, led by Mr. Nicos Anastasiades.

AKEL leader Kyprianou lauded the President's efforts in the reunification talks. The AKEL pledged to continue to work for unity, dignity and prosperity of the people "for the future of Cyprus and the Cyprus of the future". The AKEL criticized the DIKO for aligning with opposition parties on the parliamentary resolution on NATO. Speaker Garoyian (DIKO) argued that the DIKO's participation in government did not affect its political independence. President Christofias encouraged voters to turn out massively, urging them not to "let others decide" for them.

DISY leader Anastasiades criticized the President for worsening the country's economy. He argued that the country should invest more in the private sector by privatizing several governmental organizations.

On the eve of polling day, on 21 May, the government announced that it had struck a multi-million euro deal with Qatar to develop real estate in the capital, Nicosia. The DISY qualified the announcement as electorally-motivated. The government rebutted that the DISY was fantasizing.

Although voting is compulsory, only 78.7 per cent of the 531,000 registered voters turned out at the polls in 2011, down from 89 per cent in 2006. Since 2006, Turkish Cypriots living in the south have been allowed to vote and stand for election. In 2011, 544 persons registered to vote, up from 270 recorded in 2006.

The opposition DISY became the largest force in the newly elected House of Representatives, winning 20 seats, one more than the AKEL. The DIKO and the EDEK took nine and five seats respectively and the EK and KOP took two and one seat each. In all, six women were elected.

On 2 June, the newly elected House of Representatives held its first session and elected Mr. Yiannakis Omirou (EDEK) as its new Speaker.

Note 1:
According to Article 62.1 of the 1960 Constitution, the statutory number of members of the House of Representatives is 50, of whom 35 (70%) are elected by the Greek Cypriot community and 15 seats (30%) by the Turkish Cypriot community. The latter withdrew from the institutions of central government in 1963, leaving the 15 seats vacant ever since. In 1985, the statutory number of members of the House was raised to 80, of which 56 are reserved for the Greek Cypriot community and 24 for the Turkish Cypriot community (currently vacant).

Note 2:
Under the 1960 Constitution, the post of President is reserved for a Greek Cypriot while that of Vice-President is reserved for a Turkish Cypriot (vacant since 1963).

Note 3:
Article 50-1 (a) of the Constitution, stipulates that "The President and the Vice-President of the Republic, separately or conjointly, shall have the right of final veto on any law or decision of the House of Representatives or any part thereof concerning -
(a) foreign affairs, except the participation of the Republic in international organisations and pacts of alliance in which the Kingdom of Greece and the Republic of Turkey both participate."
http://www.cyprus.gov.cy/portal/portal.nsf/All/5136F7B14D7F6885C2256FD5003BD099?OpenDocument

Note 4:
In addition, nine others registered to represent the Maronite, Latin and Armenian communities, which have observer status at the House of Representatives.
STATISTICS
Voter turnout
Round no 122 May 2011
Number of registered electors
Voters
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
531'463
418'247 (78.7%)
13'670
404'577
Notes
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Democratic Rally (DISY) 138'682 34.28
Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) 132'171 32.67
Democratic Party (DIKO) 63'763 15.76
Movement of Social Democrats (EDEK) 36'113 8.93
European Party (EK) 15'711 3.88
Cyprus Green Party (KOP) 8'960 2.21
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Democratic Rally (DISY) 20 2
Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) 19 1
Democratic Party (DIKO) 9 -2
Movement of Social Democrats (EDEK) 5 0
European Party (EK) 2 -1
Cyprus Green Party (KOP) 1 0
Distribution of seats according to sex
Men
Women
Percent of women
50
6
10.71%
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Comments
Sources:
House of Representatives (27.05.2011, 01.01.2014)
http://live.elections.moi.gov.cy/English
http://www.robert-schuman.eu/doc/oee/oee-693-en.pdf
http://www.cyprus.gov.cy
http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/cyprus/76198
http://www.akel.org.cy/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=7808&tt=graphic&lang=l3

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