Ruling party wins Cyprus election as far right doubles support

Ruling party wins Cyprus election as far right doubles support

Photo: AP

Cyprus's ruling conservatives won Cyprus parliamentary election on Sunday, but the far-right ELAM party and a centrist splinter group made big gains, news wires reported. The center-right DISY emerged in first place with 27.77% of the vote, 5.4% more than second-place, communist-rooted AKEL. But the parties respectively lost 2.9% and 3.3% of their support from the previous election.

ELAM garnered 6.78% of the vote — a 3% increase from the previous election in 2016 — to edge out the socialist EDEK party by the razor-thin margin of around 200 votes.

The centrist DIPA — made up of key figures from the center-right DIKO party which has traditionally been the third biggest party — gained 6.1% of the vote.

Analyst Christoforos Christoforou told AP the results indicate a “very big failure” on the part of both DISY and AKEL to rally more supporters by convincing them of the benefits of their policies. Christoforou said the real winners were ELAM with its strident anti-migration platform and hardline nationalist polies and DIPA whose top echelons still have connections to the centers of political power as former ministers and lawmakers. He said that the high electoral threshold of 3.6% means that 15,000 voters who cast ballots for smaller parties who didn't win any seats are left without a voice in parliament.

The election won’t affect the running of the government on the divided Mediterranean island nation, as executive power rests in the hands of the president, who is elected separately.

About 65.73% of nearly 558,000 eligible voters cast ballots for the 56 Greek Cypriot seats in parliament. Voter turnout was 1% less than the previous poll.

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