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Cypriots abroad: It is unfair not to be able to vote

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Cypriots abroad: It is unfair not to be able to vote

Dissatisfaction prevails among Cypriot voters abroad, due to the fact that in the upcoming parliamentary elections it will not be possible to set up polling stations in foreign countries, apart from Greece and the United Kingdom.

As a Cypriot from Germany points out even though we are at a critical juncture for the country and while, due to the pandemic, people studying or working abroad will not be able to combine voting with family visits and summer vacations, as was formerly the case, however Cypriot voters will not be able to exercise their right to vote, due to the fact that no ballot boxes will be set up in foreign countries – except Britain and Greece – under the electoral law.

The Cypriot from Germany mentions the fact that since the legislation provides for the operation of polling stations abroad in cities where the number of interested voters exceeds 30 for each constituency, therefore it is expected that polling stations will operate only in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, London and Manchester.

The complainant is particularly concerned about the fact that the interest declaration form, in which interest is counted, to determine whether the number of voters is sufficient to operate a polling station in a foreign city, accepts statements from only the two countries, for which There is prior certainty of the existence of interest, ie Greece and the United Kingdom. “Although in the meantime conditions have changed in the last five years (ie in this case, if a global health crisis does not allow Cypriots abroad to travel to Cyprus as they expected to do), the form of expression of interest is not he will never record it, since he does not ask it at all “, he typically claims.

“The main request,” as the citizen points out, “is to streamline the way in which the existence of interest is recorded, as the expression of interest form should replace the closed list with only two countries, with an open field of response.” , as “the closed list is in practice the deprivation of the right to express interest”.

He notes that, after contacting the Election Service, he found understanding for the concerns he cites, however he did not receive confirmation that the tactics will be changed in time, so that – if there is interest – polling stations will operate next May. , as the issue does not seem to be of an administrative nature, but of a legislative one.

In a communication of Philenews with the head of the Election Service, it was confirmed that the issue is mainly of a legislative nature, as in contrast to the presidential elections, where it is necessary to have at least 30 voters, to set up a ballot box in a foreign city, however in Parliamentary Elections The presence of 30 voters in each district is needed, which creates difficulties in the operation of polling stations in foreign countries, since for regions such as Paphos and free Famagusta, the necessary number of voters is not completed. He added that although the issue was raised in Parliament, following a proposal to lower the threshold from 30 to at least 20 voters, the threshold was not changed, as it was argued that for the sake of secrecy of the vote, the threshold of at least 30 voters should remain.

Regarding the expression of interest from foreigners, commenting on the fact that voters are offered a choice only for Greece and the United Kingdom, the head of the Election Service said that both the Ministry of Interior and the political parties are able to know that only in these countries is it possible to have the required number of voters and therefore only 2 countries are listed in the declaration. Finally, he expressed the belief that the issue could be resolved through electronic voting, which is not possible at present.

Source: www.philenews.com

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