28 May 2014 07:54

Abstention in Cyprus was the undisputed winner in Sunday's Euro elections and all political parties say they understand the economically-struggling voters' frustration and disillusionment.
But despite the silent protest, the outcome of the election shows that Cypriots voted for the establishment with the same parties getting the same number of seats as in 2009.
The only positive note is that - despite the far-right flourishing in Europe - Cyprus' extreme party Elam's percentage gain was minimal.
"It seems that Cypriots are phenomenal when it comes to political swings. They simply do not swing. And as a result political parties tend to take them for granted," political analyst Alex Lordos told The Cyprus Daily, yesterday.
"As for the alarming abstention rate, let's not forget that national elections are totally different form European ones. It's highly doubtful we will see such unprecedented apathy in national elections," added the University of Cyprus professor.
Six out of 10 of the 606,916 registered voters shunned the ballot with the abstention rate jumping to 56% from 41% in the EP elections five years ago.
It is the first time in Cyprus' history that those who voted were in the minority rather than the majority.
Out of the island's total of six seats, two went to ruling right-wing Disy, another two to Opposition left-wing Akel, one to centre Diko and one to socialist Edek.
Disy's MEPs are Eleni Theocharous who got re-elected and former government spokesman Christos Stylianides. Akel's MEPs are Takis Hadjigeorgiou who also got re-elected and former energy and  commerce minister Neoclis Sylikiotis.
Diko's MEP is Costas Mavrides who ousted Antigoni Papadopoulou and Edek's new MEP is party spokesman Demetris Papadakis -  taking over from Sofocles Sofocleous.
All parties recorded shrinking percentages.
Disy got 37.7% compared to 39.7% in 2009, but argues that in the previous elections it had joined forces with Evroko which had elected three local MPs.
This time, Evroko's leader Demetris Syllouris was running on Disy's ticket since the small party is now split and no one seems to know what its strength is.
The Disy leadership interpret their 'success' as a vote of confidence for the government's economic policy of strict implementation of the international austerity bailout programme.
Akel, which managed to get two seats despite predictions that it would lose one, got 26.9% of the vote compared to 34.9% in 2009.
The left-wingers who are paying the price for the mistake-ridden administration of former President Demetris Christofias say the party's much-needed reforms are on the way.
Former coalition partner Diko - whose decision to leave the government in December came at a price - saw its strength shrink to 10.8% from 12.2% in 2009.
The new leadership of Nicolas Papadopoulos is already facing fresh turbulence within.
The alliance of Edek with the one-seat Green Party proved to be unsuccessful with the socialists getting only 7.6% of the vote compared to 11.3% in 2009.
Former minister Yiorgos Lillikas' Citizens Alliance failed to win a seat but managed to get a credible 6.7% of the vote which makes their leader eligible to participate in national council meetings.
This was Lillikas' demand since February 2003 when he came third in presidential elections but got a very respectable percentage.  A first this time was the automatic registration of thousands of Turkish Cypriot voters living in the occupied part of the Cyprus.
But out of the some 58,000 eligible voters, just over 1,869 cast a vote because of indifference but also due to a technical problem with the official registry. The Interior Ministry could have checked the registry a bit earlier to ensure that addresses were there as stipulated by the new law, an insider said.


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