A record 61 candidates are contesting the six seats in the upcoming European Parliament elections to take place in Cyprus on May 25, with the list including a number of Turkish Cypriots for the first time, an animal rights group, extreme nationalists and a host of independents, including one who wants to set up a utopian state.
Four MEPs are heading the list of their party tickets, aiming to get re-elected, while the list of candidates has seen a poor turnout of female names and only one joint ticket of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite efforts to revive the stalled talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
This is the third time that Cypriots will be going to the polls to elect MEPs ever since the island joined the European Union on May 1, 2004, albeit with only the Greek Cypriots taking part.
A recent legislation change has allowed all native Turkish Cypriots who have the new Republic of Cyprus identity cards to automatically enroll on the voter register, with an estimated 67,000 able to take part. In all, about 610,000 are registered to vote.
Two Turkish Cypriot candidates, Osman Zorba and Mehmet Birinci, are taking part as the Socialist Party of Cyprus, while two other Turkish Cypriots are joining a bicommunal effort under the “Drasis – Eylem” (Action) ticket.
Turkish Cypriot journalist Sener Levent, a pro-unity publisher of the “Afrika” newspaper who opposes Ankara’s involvement in life and politics in the north, is running as an independent.
The ruling Democratic Party (DISY) is expected to win two seats with its high-profile list, including incumbent MEP Eleni Theocharous.
The opposition communist AKEL party is also fronting an incumbent, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, with pollsters expecting them to secure one or two seats, while MEP Antigone Papadopoulou is heading the Democratic Party list, hoping to get re-elected.
The socialist party EDEK and the Greens have joined forces to include MEP Sophocles Sophocleous, as well as local Greens MP Yiorgos Perdikis.
The nationalist Citizens’ Movement that opposes current peace efforts to reunify the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities into a bizonal, federal system, will be headed by party leader and former Trade Minister Yiorgos Lillikas, while the ultra-nationalist ELAM that is affiliated to the Golden Dawn in Greece, hopes to improve on its 1% turnout in previous elections.
A group of technocrats, headed by economist Stelios Platis and TV-psychologist Yiangos Mikelides, has formed the “Message of Hope” platform, while the recently established Animal Party Cyprus has footed just three candidates.
Among the eight independents is veteran candidate Costas Kyriakou, also known as “Utopos” for his grand designs for the establishment of a utopian society, who has often received several hundred protest votes in past parliamentary and presidential elections.
The list of candidates are:
AKEL (Group of Left, GUE-NGL)
Stavros Evagorou (MP), Vera Polykarpou, Charalambos Polykarpou, Panayiotis Stavrinides, Neoclis Sylikiotis (ex-Trade Minister), Takis Hadjigeorgiou (MEP).
Democratic Party DIKO (Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, S&D)
Costas Aristidou, Georgos Georgiou, Dr Androulla Eleftheriou, Coasts Mavrides, Yiannis Panayiotou, Antigone Papadopoulou (MEP).
Democratic Rally DISY (European Popular Party, EPP)
Stavros Zenios (ex-Rector, University of Cyprus), Dr Eleni Theocharous (MEP), Christos Stylianides (ex-government spokesman), Demetris Syllouris (MP, chair House Ethics Committee), Rena Hoplarou, Lefteris Christoforou (MP).
National Front ELAM (allied with Golden Dawn)
Despina Androu, Marios Vasiliou, Geades Geadi, Panayiota Cleovoulou, Charalambos Mesarites, Michalakis Michael.
Simos Angelides, Andras Apostolou, Yiorgos Lillikas (party president, ex-Trade Minister), Irene Mandole, Alexandros Michaelides, Koullis Nicolaou (actor).
Socialist Edek – Greens
Stavros Yiallourides, Demetris Papadakis, Yiorgos Perikes (Greens MP), Makis Rousos, Sochocles Sophocleous (MEP), Eleni Chrysostomou.
Dinos Ayiomamitis, Costas Achniotis, Deniz Birinci, Hadise Alev Necet, Marilena Payiatsou, Stavros Tombazos.
Animal Party Cyprus
Angela Agathangelou, Georgia-Elina Zoe, Kyriakos Kyriakou (party founder).
Message of Hope
Georgos Georgiou, Marios Evriviades, Natalie Ioannou, Yiangos Mikelides, Strelios Platis, Vasilis Christodoulou.
Socialist Party of Cyprus (Turkish Cypriot)
Osman Zorba, Mehmet Birinci
Andreas Evstratiou, Theodoulos Theodoulou, Andreas Ioannou, Costas Kyriakou (Utopos), Sener Levent (journalist), Michalis Minas, Loucas Stavrou and Adamos Christoforou.
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