The electoral colleges of Cyprus opened their doors this Sunday for the election of a new parliament on an election day that will serve as a barometer for the next presidential elections, which are slated for 2023.
According to surveys, there is a connection between the center-right Democratic Grouping (DISY) party, which supports incumbent Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, and the left-wing opposition party Akel.
Election day, which will attract more than 550,000 voters and introduce 15 parties, began at 7:00 a.m. local time (6:00 a.m. Spanish time). The first results are expected after 8:00 p.m. local time.
Cyprus has been divided in two since 1974 when the Turkish army occupied the northern part – 36.2 percent of its territory – after a coup instigated by the military junta in power in Greece that feared the island would join the latter country .
The conflict continues to be a source of tension between Turkey and Greece and also hinders Ankara’s ambitions to join the European Union.
The parliament consists of 80 members, but only 56 of them belong to the Greek Cypriot legislature, while the remaining 24 seats of the Turkish Cypriot MPs have been vacant since 1963.