NEWS

Cypriots give nod to backers of UN plan

The first elections for the European Parliament on Cyprus found the island still divided. There was only one Turkish Cypriot, an independent, running for one of the six seats allocated to Cyprus in the 723-seat Parliament, but he had no hope of winning. But according to final figures reported by the Athens News Agency last night, which were expected to be confirmed in the official tally later, the election held some surprises for the Greek-Cypriot parties. Most notably, the Democratic Rally party (DISY), which had been the strongest voice in favor of the UN blueprint for the island’s reunification, appeared to have come first in yesterday’s poll, with 28.2 percent and two seats. The communist AKEL party, which had consistently been the island’s largest party and which had campaigned against the UN plan, was second, with 27.8 percent and two seats. President Tassos Papadopoulos’s center-right DIKO won 17 percent of the vote and one seat, while the «For Europe» party, made up of DISY dissenters who opposed the UN plan, won 10.8 percent and the last seat, beating the socialist EDEK party by a mere 37 votes and prompting the latter to call for a national recount. The DISY leadership was clearly delighted by the surprise result, as the party had appeared to pay dearly for its support for the UN plan, which was rejected by 75 percent of Greek Cypriots in the April 24 referendum. At a celebratory news conference in Nicosia, the party’s founder, former President Glafcos Clerides, declared, «The Democratic Rally is an impregnable fortress.»