The European elections in Cyprus

The European elections in Cyprus

June 2019

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.