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Three MEPs headed for re-election

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Three of the six outgoing Cyprus MEPs seem to be set for re-election and a far-right party could win its first European seat on June 9, when voters will also have to choose new mayors, municipal and village councillors, a recent opinion poll found.

Incumbents Loucas Fourlas from the Democratic Rally (DISY-EPP), Giorgos Georgiou of the left-wing AKEL (GUE-NGL) and Costas Mavrides of the centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO-S&D) could hold on to their seats in the European Parliament, with DISY and AKEL expected to secure two seats each and DIKO one, according to the Kathimerini Cyprus survey.

The poll, conducted by Symmetron Market Research among 800 respondents, found that DISY would garner 22.8% of the votes and retain two seats, AKEL would get 21.6% and also secure two seats, while far-right ELAM could win third place with 10.7% of the votes, ahead of DIKO’s 9.1%.

With Fourlas expected to get 62% of the DISY preference votes, it will be a close race for the second seat between former Cabinet members Michalis Hadjipantelas (ex-Minister of Health) and Constantintinos Petrides (ex-Finance), who would get 33% and 31%, respectively, according to the Kathimerini survey.

From the party of The Left, Giorgos Georgiou is expected an easy win with 49% of the preference votes, followed by newcomer economist Anna Theologou at 28%, marginally ahead of University of Cyprus professor Niyazi Kizilyurek, the only Turkish Cypriot MEP since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004.

The surprise of this election race could be ELAM winning its first seat in the European Parliament, with the far-right nationalist party represented by its party spokesman, Geadis Geadi, who is expected to get 46% of the preferences, outbidding former government spokesman Marios Pelekanos who switched camps from DISY, after the EPP-aligned party overlooked him for the EP ticket.

The sixth Cyprus seat will probably go to incumbent Costas Mavrides, by far the most popular within DIKO, who would get 62% of the preference votes, ahead of local MP Chrysis Pantelides (26%) and former MEP Dr Eleni Theocharous (24%).

The sixth seat was held by Demetris Papadakis, formerly of socialist EDEK (S&D) who broke away from the party, before being sacked, over a conflict with the leadership.

Only one woman?

This would mean that once again Cyprus could have just one woman MEP in Brussels and Strasbourg, with the traditional parties making a poor showing when it comes to female candidates.

The Democratic Front (DIPA), an offshoot from DIKO, would be far below the threshold with 3.8% and would not elect an MEP, nor would EDEK (3.3%), Volt (2.6%) or the Greens (2.3%).

The Kathimerini poll also found that the Cypriot public had a positive opinion (60%) about the European Union and 52% had a favourable view about the European Parliament, with 61% saying they would show up to vote on June 9, while 25% said they would not.

The economy and rising costs are the determining factor for voters, followed by the Cyprus problem, and migrants.

The pollsters Symmetron also asked about the three leading political personalities on the island, with public opinion being generally negative about President Nikos Christodoulides (57%, 31% positive, 12% “don’t know”).

Opposition AKEL’s General Secretary Stephanos Stephanou also had a negative view among those polled (46%, 34% positive and 20% “don’t know”)

House Speaker and DISY leader Annita Demetrious had a better view among those questioned, with 49% in her favour, 39% negative and 12% “don’t know”.

Deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou sufficed to say that these are not presidential elections.

“We are watching with respect, avoiding comments,” he said, adding that, “any messages arising from the elections will be reviewed in due course.”