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Nationalism on the rise

Friday 1 October 2004

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After the overwhelming rejection of the Annan plan for reunification in the form of a “Cypriot Confederation of two independent states” at the referendum of April 24, 2004, the European elections confirmed the rise of Greek Cypriot nationalism.

The parties opposed to reunification - AKEL (Communist), DIKO (right nationalist, led by president Papadopoulos) and Alarm for Europe (dissidents against the reunification of the liberal party DISY) - won four of the six seats in the European Parliament. Although it came first, the big party of the traditional right, DISY, favourable to the Annan plan, lost 5% of its vote in relation to the last parliamentary elections in May 2001. Note that the abstention rate was 28.81% although voting is compulsory (however, president Papadopoulos has said that non-voters will not be penalized), 20% more than in 2001.

Party Parliamentary 2001 (%) referendum on reunification European 2004 (%)
DISY (right) 34.0 for 28.23
Alarm (dissident DISY) - against 10.80
AKEL (Communist) 34.7 against 27.89
DIKO (right) 14.8 against 17.09
EDEK (social democratic) 6.5 against 10.79
EDE/“European Cyprus” [1] 2.6 for 1.95
KOP (Greens) 2.0 for 0.86
Neo Orizontes (far right) 3.0 against 1.65

The attempt at a unitary list opposed to Greek Cypriot nationalism, “European Cyprus” which involved the small liberal party “United Democrats” (EDE) and dissidents from the socialist party opposed to the nationalist course of EDEK - which missed winning a seat by 37 votes, with Alarm winning it instead - and some far left activists only gained 1.95% of the vote, less than EDE alone in 2001.

Finally the right wing parties benefited more than AKEL (the Communist Party) from the chauvinist tide. The latter lost its place as biggest party and nearly 7% of its vote in comparison to 2001.


[1In May 2001 the EDE ran on its own.