Cyprus prepares for May's Parliamentary elections
Nicosia, Apr 18 – The distinctiveness of the May 21, 2006 Parliamentary elections is the participation of Turkish Cypriots and the fact that ballots will be counted for the first time at election centres, according to Cyprus' Interior Minister Andreas Christou.
Speaking after a second meeting on the course of preparations for the forthcoming elections, Mr. Christou said a total of 1,250 election centers will operate. This marks an additional 60 centers than the previous elections due to the increased population.
A total of 270 Turkish Cypriots have been registered to vote at an estimated 30 election centres. The first official results for political parties will be known around 2100 local time.
Mr. Christou also said that samples of the voting papers are already being printed adding that “this time we might have the biggest voting paper ever in Parliamentary elections if more political combinations or isolated candidacies come forward”.
The Interior Minister added that almost all voting booklets are ready and their owners will be asked to collect them in the beginning of next week.
Additionally, leaflets with instructions in the Turkish language will be issued to help Turkish Cypriots who do not speak Greek to be able to vote as they choose. However, he said there will not be any voting papers in Turkish but merely a sample translated into Turkish at the centres were the Turkish Cypriots will vote to enable them vote the party and candidates they wish.
According to the 1960 Constitution, the Greek Cypriot community, comprising Greek Cypriots, Latins, Armenians and Maronites, elects its own representatives to the House and the Turkish Cypriot community its own deputies.
However, the Turkish Cypriots withdrew unilaterally from parliament in 1964 as part of their rebellion against the government. It is the first time during these elections that Turkish Cypriots who live in the government controlled areas of the Republic will be able to vote.
Since the division of the island, as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion and continuing occupation, parliamentary, presidential and local elections are held in the southern government controlled areas of the Republic.
The internationally recognised government of Cyprus is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction in the northern part of the country by the Turkish occupation troops and the Turkish Cypriot puppet regime set up in the occupied part of Cyprus.