NICOSIA – Voting for Cyprus’ six MEPs ended at 6.00 pm on Sunday, with turnout hitting a record low, despite a record number of 61 candidates.
Chief returning officer Constantinos Nicolaides said that initial indications were that turnout out was 42.37% of all registered voters.
Excluding the special ballot stations set up for Turkish Cypriots turnout was 46.56% compared to 59.49% in the European Parliament elections of 2009. This means an abstention rate of some 53% -- significantly higher than the 41% of 2009.
The low turnout makes analysis of the telephone polls carried out by the island’s main TV channels even more difficult.
According to an initial poll by CyBC, Disy and Akel are both set to retain their two seats in the European Parliament. Diko would also retain their seat as would Edek, but with newcomers the Citizens Alliance of Yiorgos Lillikas close behind.
The four polls show Disy with a strength of between 34% to 40.5%, Akel with 21% to 28.5%, Diko 8% to 13%, Edek 6.5% to 11%, Citizens Alliance 5.2% to 9% and the newly founded Message of Hope 2% to 6%.
Counting has already started and final results are expected by 8.30 pm and the names of the six winning MEPs two hours later. However these will not be made official before midnight, when polling stations close in Italy.