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Cyprus Parliamentary Elections, 26 May 1996

Occasional Cypriot News Contributions Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Panayiotis Zaphiris <pzaphiri@Glue.umd.edu>

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 26 MAY 1996

General Background Information

In accordance with article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, the House of Representatives unanimously voted for its dissolution on 18/4/96. Under this article, the House may dissolve itself only by its own decision carried by an absolute majority.

Any such decision must determine the date of the general elections, which must not be less than 30 days and not more than 40 days from the date of the decision. The first meeting of the new House must not be later than 15 days after the general elections.

The Electoral System

In June 1995 the House of Representatives amended the Electoral Law which provided for reiforced representation system, The system was replaced by proportional representation.

First Distribution

Cyprus is divided into six constituencies. The first distribution of seats takes place by constituency. Seats are allocated to parties which have managed to obtain the minimum number of valid votes necessary in a constituency (electoral threshold). To determine this threshold the number of valid votes is divided by the number of seats of each constituency.

Each party will win as many seats as the number of times the electoral threshold will go into the total number of votes it has received.

Example: Nicosia - 21 seats - total valid votes 126.000

Party A receives 45,000 votes.
To find the electoral threshold:

          valid votes    126,000
                          ------- = 6,000 electoral threshold
            seats            21

To decide how many seats Party A receives:

Valid votes 45,000 Party A has received --------=7 seats + 3,000 votes to be used in the 2nd Electoral threshold 6,000 distribution to benefit of the same party.

Second distrubution

Parties win a seat in the second distribution if they have received 1/56 or approx. 1.8% of the votes islandwide. A coalition of parties needs to secure 10% of the votes.

Independent candidates are not allowed, under the law to participate in the second distribution.

For the second distribution of seats the Republic is considered as one constituency.

In order to determine the number of seats to be assigned to parties in the second distribution, the total number of unused votes (remainders) of all parties participating in the second distribution, are added up.

(The unused votes of the parties which are not entitled to participate in the second distribution as well as the unused votes of the independent candidates,are not taken into account).

The total number of unused votes is then divided by the number of seats not unallocated in the first distribution. The quotient will represent the electoral threshold for the second distribution. The total number of unused votes throughout the island of each party or coalition of parties taking part in the second distribution, is summed up and divided by the electoral theshold. The quotient indicates the number of seats each party or coalition will win in the second distribution.

Seats are distributed as follows:

The Parties are graded according to the number of unused votes remaining from the first distribution. This grading will determine the order in which the parties will be allocated the seats in the second distribution.

Each seat is allocated to the party or coalition in the constituency in which it has the highest number of unused votes and provided seats are available.

If there are not available seats in the constituency in which the party or coalition has the highest number of unused votes, that party will win a seat in the constituency in which it has the second highest number of unused votes.

This is repeated with the other parties taking part in the second distribution. The entire procedure is repeated, with the same order until all seats are allocated.

The seats in each constituency are won by those candidates who have received the highest number of preference votes.If candidates have an equal number of preference votes, the seat is assigned according to the order they appear on the ballot.

Number of seats/constituencies

According to article 62(1) of the Constitution the number of representatives is 50. Out of this number 35 are elected by the Greek Cypriot Community and 15 by the Turkish Cypriot Community. The Turkish Cypriot seats remain vacant since 1964 when the Turkish Cypriot representatives withdrew from the House.

However, for the smooth running of the House of Representatives and of the Committees in particular, the House decided in July 1985 by adopting law 124, to increase the seats to 80. Of these 56 (70%) representatives are elected by the Greek Cypriot Community and 24 (30%) by the Turkish Cypriot Community, as provided in article 62(2) of the Constitution.

Under the electoral law the Cyprus Republic is divided into six constituencies. The distribution of parliamentary seats and the votes of preference for each constituency as decided by the House, is as follows:

Seats Votes of Preference

Nicosia 21 6 Limassol 12 3 Famagusta 11 3 Larnaca 5 2 Paphos 4 1 Kyrenia 3 1

The total number of candidates contesting the 56 seats in this year's Parliamentery Elections, is 413.

The Electorate

Every citizen of the Republic who has attained the age of 21 has the right to vote.

The registered voters are 409, 672.

The number of the registered voters by constituency :

Nicosia 151,539 Limassol 85,031 Famagusta 80,908 Larnaca 38,720 Paphos 32,420 Kyrenia 21,054

Political Parties

The island's political parties contesting the elections:

1. Democratic Party (DIKO)
founded:1976
President: Mr Spyros Kyprianou

2. Democratic Rally (DISY)
founded: 1976
President: Mr Yiannakis Matsis

3. Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL)
founded: 1941
General Secretary: Mr Demetris Christofias

4. Socialist Party EDEK
founded: 1969
President: Dr. Vassos Lyssarides

5. Liberal Party *
founded: 1986
President: Nicos Rolandis

6. Democratic Socialist Reform Movement (ADISOK)
founded: 1990
President: Mr Michael Papapetrou

7. Movement of Free Democrats
founded: 1993
President: George Vassiliou

8. New Horizons (NEO)
founded: 1996
President: Nicos Koutsou

9. Ecologists-Environmentalists**
founded: 1996

* The Liberal Party is constesting the elections in coalition with the Democratic Rally.

** The party is contesting 17 seats


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