09 January 2014 10:03

Amendments to the election law allowing Turkish Cypriot holders of divided Cyprus' identity cards to automatically register in the lists for May's Euro elections are almost ready for Cabinet approval.
This is what Demetris Demetriou of the Interior Ministry's Election Service told The Cyprus Daily on Tuesday.
"We are finalising the amendments now and soon they will be sent to Cabinet for approval. We have some 95,000 Turkish Cypriots holding Republic of Cyprus ID cards," he said.
The amendments were first announced by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides who said that Turkish Cypriots might be able to get two MEPs elected given the high number of ID card holders.
And that the government would take measures to facilitate the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the European elections.
But he also called on them to stop efforts to gain observer status in the European Parliament - a gesture signaling recognition of the breakaway 'state' in the occupied north.
The overall number of registered voters is now 540,000 but it is expected to rise with new registrations whose deadline is April 2.
Out of the 540,000, some 6,000 were EU nationals in the 2011 municipal elections. But this number is also due to change because a lot have left cash-strapped Cyprus since then.
Cyprus elects six members to the European Parliament and the electoral system is based on proportional representation.
In the last euro elections of June 2009, ruling Disy came first with 35.65% of the vote, just ahead of Opposition Akel's 34.90%, both winning two seats.
Main coalition partner centre Diko came third with 12.28%, while socialist Edek got 9.85%, both winning one seat each.
The turnout rate of 59.40% was the lowest recorded for any election in Cyprus. Voting is compulsory for national elections but not for European ones.
And the big challenge now for the bloc's officials in Cyprus is to convince disillusioned voters to go to the ballots.
Alexandra Attalides - the acting head of the European Parliament Office in Cyprus - told The Cyprus Daily: "I am very much worried that the anger felt by citizens of Cyprus will make them turn against their own selves.
"It is very possible that citizens will wrongly turn their backs on the elections wanting to punish other institutions about decisions taken for Cyprus that they did not like, and by doing so they will end up punishing themselves".
Cypriots are angry over the harsh euro bailout in March that they feel punishes ordinary people to prop up a broken financial system.
Tiny Cyprus became the testing ground for EU leaders who realised their electorates would no longer accept using any more taxpayers' money to save banks from collapse.
Unlike the bailouts of other troubled EU countries, the 'bail-in' which saved Cyprus from bankruptcy targeted savings in two major banks.


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