August 5, 2021

Conservatives win Greek Cypriot parliamentary elections

The conservative Disy party of President Nicos Anastasiades came on Sunday, May 30, at the head of the general elections in the Greek part of Cyprus, with 27% of the vote, according to the official results published in the evening.

These elections took place against a backdrop of popular anger after the scandal of « gold passports », a program of granting passports against investments abolished because of allegations of corruption, exploited by the extreme right which emerges strengthened from the poll. The Communist Party Akel won 22% of the vote while the ultra-nationalist Elam party doubled its representation from two to four MPs with 6.78% of the vote. The Disy party lost a seat and therefore does not have a majority in Parliament, which will force President Anastasiades to form a minority government again.

More than 558,000 people were called upon to decide between 658 candidates, including less than a quarter of women, for this election held in the southern part of the island where the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, exercises its authority.

The island has been divided since the 1974 invasion of the northern third by the Turkish army, in reaction to a coup attempt to reattach the island to Greece. The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is recognized only by Ankara.

The turnout for Sunday’s ballot amounted to 63.9%, against 66.7% in 2016. A rate judged “Satisfactory” with regard to the health context by the returning officer Costas Constantinou.

Corruption and migration

Analysts say the various opposition parties failed to harness the electorate’s anger against the government after the corruption scandal, allowing the Conservatives to stay ahead. Controversial practice suspected of promoting corruption and money laundering, the system of “Gold passports”, issued against a 2.5 million euro investment on the island to thousands of foreign citizens, was criticized by the European Union and deleted in November after an Al-Jazeera investigation into alleged abuses.

The Qatari channel’s revelations led to the resignation of the Speaker of Parliament and an MP, who proclaimed their innocence after being filmed, according to Al-Jazeera, facilitating the obtaining of a passport for a man of Chinese business with a criminal history.

Elam surfed on the dissatisfaction of the population after this scandal but also on fears about immigration on the Mediterranean island.

According to Eurostat, Cyprus holds the European record for first-time asylum seekers in relation to its population of less than one million inhabitants. Last week, Cyprus said in ” emergency state “ because of the influx of migrants from Syria.

For once, the question of the partition of the island was not at the heart of the debates. Negotiations on reunification have stalled since 2017 and a meeting under the auspices of the UN in Geneva at the end of April failed to revive them.

The World with AFP