Ruling Disy and opposition Akel retained two seats each in the European Parliament, while the Citizens Alliance came close but failed to score an upset in wresting away Edek’s seat.
But the biggest shock from yesterday’s EP elections was the massive abstention rate of 56% - a jump from 41% in 2009 and the first time in Cyprus’ history that more voters had chosen to stay away than to cast a ballot.
Figures show turnout was 42.37% of the electoral body. Excluding some 50,000 Turkish Cypriots registered for the first time, 46.56% of the electorate bothered to make their way to the polling stations, compared to 59.4% in 2009.
Political parties quickly scrambled to take stock of the results, while pledging to redouble efforts to regain citizen’s trust and woo them back to the ballot box.
Disy, which ran with the small Evroko party, emerged a clear cut winner with 37.75% of the total vote - slightly down on the combined votes of the two parties in the 2009 European Parliament elections (35.65% and 4.12%).
But it took comfort from the fact that it had managed to widen the gap from second placed Akel despite a recession.
Incumbent MEP Eleni Theocharous stormed to first place, while former government spokesman Christos Stylianides managed to take the second seat after a close-fought battle with Disy deputy chairman Lefteris Christoforou.
Akel, which fought an uphill battle to galvanise enough voters to retain two seats, elected incumbent Takis Hadjigeorghiou and former Commerce Minister and Akel heavyweight Neoclis Sylikiotis.
It nevertheless saw its strength shrink to 26.98% from 34.90% with party general secretary Andros Kyprianou announcing that Akel would be moving forward the date of its next congress as it presses on with a rebuilding process.
Diko secured 10.83%, slipping from 12.28% in 2009. Marios Mavrides, who had come close to securing the party’s position of deputy chairman in the recent party elections, was able to oust incumbent Antigone Papadopoulou.
Chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said the party had registered the smallest decline and retained its decisive role in the centre.
Edek teamed up with the Greens but only managed to scrape through, with 7.68%. Edek had polled 9.85% in 2009 while the Greens had managed a bare 1.5%. In a night of upsets, the seat was won by Demetris Papadakis, leaving another incumbent Sofocles Sofocleous in the cold.
Both Omirou and Greens leader George Perdikis said the two parties would continue their cooperation.
Yiorgos Lillikas’ Civil Alliance came within 2000 votes of winning a seat, but said its respectable showing of 6.78% would give it a place in the National Council.
Yesterday’s elections were contested by a record 61 candidates – running in 10 political groupings as well as independents.
Message of Hope, an ad-hoc group which made opposition to parties as its main campaign message, emerged with a respectable 3.83%.
Together the smaller parties and independents managed some 10% between them.
Disy–Evroko 37.75% (39.77%)
Akel 26.98% (34.9%)
Diko 10.83% (12.28%)
Edek –Greens 7.68% (11.35%)
Citizens’ Alliance 6.78%
Message of Hope 3.83%
ELAM 2.69% (0.22%)
Sener Levent 1.05%
Drasi Eylem 0.86%
Registered voters: 609,916
(Denotes 2009 election)