Turnout in Cyprus was marginally higher than it was in the previous European Elections in 2014, going up from 44% to 45%. As one of the EU’s smallest Member States, Cyprus will send 6 MEPs to Brussels.
In Cyprus, both the 2014 and 2019 elections have produced the exact same distribution of seats: four seats evenly split between the Democratic Rally (EPP) and the Progressive Party of Working People (GUE/NGL), and two seats split between the Democratic Party (S&D) and Movement for Social Democrats (S&D). However, it is worth noting that the ruling Democratic Rally’s share of the vote dropped from 37.8% in 2014 to 29% this year. Despite earlier predictions, the far-right party ELAM didn’t secure a seat in the election, even though it doubled its vote share.
Whilst party politics remained largely unchanged, the vote produced a landmark moment with the election of Niyazi Kızılyürek (AKEL) – the first Turkish Cypriot politician in the country’s history. Following failed attempts to unify the island, Cyprus entered the EU as a divided territory in 2004. Until now, the nation’s six MEPs have always been Greek Cypriot.
Kizilyurek advocates unification to both sides of the ethnic divide. The latest UN-brokered unification talks failed at a summit in 2017, with subsequent efforts stalling in the early stages. The European elections come at a time of rising tensions with Turkey due to disputed energy drilling rights in the Mediterranean. An estimated 5,600 voters crossed the UN-patrolled ceasefire line to cast ballots in the government-controlled south. Cypriot President Anastasiades welcomed the active participation of Turkish Cypriots in the island’s political life.