Cypriot legislative election, 2011
56 of 59 seats to the House of Representatives
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politics and government of
Parliamentary elections were held in Cyprus on 22 May 2011 to elect the 56 Members of the House of Representatives. They were won by the Democratic Rally, who increased their seats from 18 to 20. The governing Progressive Party of Working People also gained a seat, bringing them up to 19. The Democratic Party lost two of their 11 seats and the European Party lost one of their three seats. The Movement for Social Democracy held on to their five seats.
The election follows a presidential election in northern part of Cyprus which was won by the right-wing candidate Dervis Eroglu, who beat leftist incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat, amid fears of a halt in peace talks for a unified Cyprus; it also follows a similar legislative election.
The Interior Ministry estimated a total Greek Cypriot eligible voting population of 530,000. Additionally, about 544 Turkish Cypriots residing in Cyprus proper are eligible to vote. The Interior Minisitry also called on Cypriot expatriates to register for the election by the end of January, so as to make preparations for polling stations.
The election was important as an adverse result against conflict resolution talks could also affect Turkey's accession to the European Union. Though this election would not directly affect the Cypriot presidential election, 2013, it could set a precedent for coalition alliances.
Current negotiations between the two parties concern the establishment of a federation of two states with a loose central government, though implementing the proposal has run into obstacles and northern part of Cyprus have not abandoned a wish for independence. Such hindrances to unification include territorial swaps and property rights of thousands of internally displaced persons.
Incumbent President Demetris Christofias governed with a coalition of his Communist Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) and the centrist Democratic Party (DIKO) which has 11 seats. Both AKEL and the centre-right Democratic Rally (DISY) have 18 seats. However, DIKO dropped out of the coalition in August 2011, forcing AKEL into a minority position in the house of representatives.
Other parties include: the Movement for Social Democracy (EDEK) (currently five seats), the European Party (currently three seats) and the Ecological and Environmental Movement (currently with one seat).
DIKO has criticised Christofias' offer for a rotating presidency with Turkish Cypriots as part of deal to settle the Cypriot conflict.
The incumbent government was also criticised for its "slow response" to the financial crisis, in which Cyprus experienced its first recession in more than three decades.
Democratic Rally finished with 34.27 percent and AKEL followed with 32.67 percent.
The high abstention rate of 21% was also noted considering that voting is compulsory.
|Democratic Rally (Dimokratikos Sinagermos)||138,682||34.28||+3.76||20||+2|
|Progressive Party of Working People (Anorthotiko Komma Ergazomenou Laou)||132,171||32.67||+1.36||19||+1|
|Democratic Party (Dimokratiko Komma)||63,763||15.76||−2.22||9||−2|
|Movement for Social Democracy (Kinima Sosialdimokraton)||36,113||8.93||−0.03||5||±0|
|European Party (Evropaiko Komma)||15,711||3.88||−1.91||2||−1|
|Ecological and Environmental Movement (Kinima Oikologon Perivallontiston)||8,960||2.21||+0.25||1||±0|
|National Popular Front (Ethniko Laiko Metopo)||4,354||1.08||+1.08||0||±0|
|Popular Socialist Party (Laiko Sosialistiko Kinima)||2,667||0.66||+0.42||0||±0|
|Balance – Independent Citizens Movement (Zygos – Kinima Anexartiton Politon)||859||0.21||—||0||—|
|Cypriot Progressive Cooperation (Kypriaki Proodevtiki Synergasia)||709||0.18||—||0||—|
|Reserved seats for minorities||–||–||–||3||0|
An op-ed in the Turkish Hurriyet suggested two repercussions: an impact on the presidential election; and an effect to the United Nations-led direct reunification talks. This could be further hurt as the junior members of the governing coalition had shown signs of a rift with AKEL and Christofias over the reunification talks, as well as social and economic policies. It suggested a "grand coalition," though acknowledging it was a massive task due to the burgeoning ambitions of both the two biggest parties for the presidency between incumbent Christofias and the DISY's Nicos Anastasiades. It also pointed out that though AKEL still had wide-backing their overall performance of the government had lost some support. Additionally, it suggested peace talks would add pressure to Northern Cyprus should a grand coalition come to fruition and bring in a "strong leadership...to engage in a give-and-take." The first test of such a possibility would be the election of the parliamentary speaker.
[A grand coalition] would produce the best chance ever for a Cyprus settlement. - Hurriyet
A coalition government was formed in 2008 between the incumbent AKEL and DIKO parties. However, on 3 August 2011 DIKO withdrew from the coalition citing its differences over resolution of the Cypriot conflict and consequently leaving AKEL with a minority government. Following a meeting with President Dimitris Christofias, party leader Marios Garoyian said that "despite our continued efforts and repeated appeals, unfortunately, the wished-for understanding between political forces which is so needed in these crucial moments for our country couldn't (sic) be achieved." Part of Garoyian's demands, following his criticism of Christofias, was that the president withdraw proposals for a rotating presidency of a potential unified Cyprus. Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that though Christofias regrets DIKO's withdrawal from the government he would go ahead with a cabinet reshuffle: "The aim is for the new government is to confront the challenges our country faces with dynamism and determination." He also added that the government would not withdraw proposals during an "intensified period of negotiations" following UN Secretary-Genera; Ban Ki-moon's urging to resolve all core issues by October, including resolving the matter of private property losses from the war.
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