Polls opened on Sunday morning in the Republic of Cyprus where 72 candidates are competing for one of six seats at the European parliament.
According to official figures, there are 641,181 registered voters who are eligible to vote on the island and another 6135 overseas. Polls opened at 7am and will close at 6pm, with a lunch break from 12 noon to 1pm. Results are expected to be announced after midnight.
Over 2000 police officers are on duty to ensure safety in 1095 polling stations throughout the Republic of Cyprus.
While there is one single electoral list in Cyprus, there are two rosters in the election. A total of 549,011 Greek Cypriots including a small number living in the north are registered on the main roster and can vote in their respective polling stations, along with 749 Turkish Cypriots living in the south and 10,559 EU nationals who live in the Republic.
A second special roster includes the automatic registration of 80,862 Turkish Cypriots whose primary residence is in the north and could be eligible to vote in the election at any of the 50 special polling stations set up in 9 different locations in the south.
Sunday’s election has been described as crucial by political and media pundits, who said there were a lot more unknowns this year compared to previous elections. Crucial factors that could alter the outcome include a growing abstention rate and a likely large participation of Turkish Cypriots living in the north.
A total of 72 candidates including nine Turkish Cypriots are competing in the election, with 69 of them on party tickets and three independents.