NICOSIA – Voting is underway as Cypriots and EU citizens resident here go to the polls to elect Cyprus’ six MEPs.
Polling stations opened at 7.00 am on Sunday and close at 6.00 pm with a one hour break at noon.
There are 609,916 registered voters, including 301 persons enclaved in the areas of the Republic under Turkish occupation since the 1974 invasion of the island.
The electoral body is made up 539,876 Greek Cypriots, 59,328 Turkish Cypriots and 7,712 citizens of other EU countries, mostly Britons and Greeks. A record number of 61 candidates are contesting Cyprus’ six seats in the 751-member European Parliament.
There are 1,087 polling stations including 19 overseas and 50 special polling stations for Turkish Cypriots.
Some 1,719 qualified out of work people have been employed for electionday with a total of 7,500 civil servants and police officers also carrying out election-related duties.
Officials say voting is going smoothly, but turnout is low, raising fears of a high abstention rate.
In Nicosia turnout was 8% compared to 15% in at the same time in the 2009 EP elections, in Limassol it was 6% compared to 13%, in Famagusta το 5% compared to 12%, in Larnaca 7% compared to 14% and in Paphos 7% compared to 13%.
This is the third time Cyprus, with a population of 0.8 million, is voting in the European elections since it joined the EU in May 2004.
Sunday is the final day of voting across the EU, with several countries having already voted.
The results however will not be announced until the last polling station closes – in Italy at 12 midnight Cyprus time.