Monday, 23 May 2016

My analysis of the Cypriot legislative elections of 2016

Whilst the counting has been going on for the second round of the Austrian Presidential election of 2016 (final result to be announced later today), there was a parliamentary election on the island of Cyprus, although as usual the seats in the north of Cyprus are going unfilled.

Both major parties suffered significant losses in this election, with the moderate conservatives Democratic Rally (DISY) losing 2 seats and the socialist Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) continuing to decline and losing 4 seats, which can be attributed to their perceived faults within Cyprus' economic crisis of 2012-13. There are only 59 seats in southern Cyprus, 3 of which are reserved for economic minorities leaving 56 up for election at any one time. This makes any multiple seat changes in any party's results significant.

The overall mood was for change, with new and minor parties achieving comparatively good results compared to 2011. The Citizens' Alliance gained 3 seats, with its programme sufficiently able to attract dissatisfied voters of AKEL and the social-democratic Movement for Social Democracy (EDEK), and the DISY splinter group Solidarity Movement, similar in many ways to the Independent Greeks, also won 3 seats. I am particularly pleased with the historical best achieved by the Ecological and Environmental Movement, the Cypriot Green Party. They won 3 seats and achieved 4.8% of the votes cast, which proves how everywhere that environmental and green issues are becoming more important and useful to us all, wherever we are; this is also remarkable when the Animal Party Cyprus managed 1.16%; animal rights parties frequently win over portions of green voters because green voters are supportive of animal rights as well as environmental rights and human rights. Worryingly, however, this anti-establishment trend also resulted in election of 2 National Popular Front (ELAM) members to the Cypriot legislature; ELAM is Cyprus' answer to Greece's ultra-nationalist party, Golden Dawn, and not coincidentally ELAM's founder member was himself an active member of Golden Dawn.

This has been one of the most significant elections in Cyprus for many years, even when DISY and AKEL still remain Cyprus' two largest parties. Will the people's desire for change as they expressed in this election be satisfied?

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