The Guardian June 6, 2001


AKEL victor in Cyprus general elections

The Cypriot communist party, AKEL, has come out victor in the island's 
general elections beating the ruling Democratic Rally (DISY) by a neck. The 
fiercely contested poll with a turnout of nearly 92 per cent gave the 
communist party its best result in 75 years. AKEL, the Progressive Party of 
the Working People, garnered 34.71 per cent of the vote. The Democratic 
Rally was close behind with 34.1 per cent.

This leaves AKEL the biggest single party in the Nicosia parliament with 20 
seats. The Democratic Rally retains 19. The Democratic Party won nine, the 
Movement of Social Democrats got four and the United Democrats one  all 
down one seat from the previous parliament.

Three new parties, New Horizons, the Fighting Democratic Movement and the 
Ecologists, entered parliament for the first time winning a seat each in 
the 56-strong House of Representatives.

The Democratic Rally's Government has been under fire for years  blamed 
for the stock exchange crash amid accusations of insider dealing by 
Ministers.

Government Ministers have been accused of nepotism and graft, particularly 
in the building industry, and the public as a whole is angry at the 
staggering rise in crime, shown by the almost nightly bomb blasts and arson 
attacks and the alarming increase in drugs and prostitution.

The first task of the new parliament, which meets on June 7, is to prepare 
legislation for the divided island's entry into the European Union.

AKEL, like most of the Cypriot parties, supports joining the EU. Many 
Cypriots believe that EU membership will hasten the end of the Turkish 
occupation of the north.

AKEL calls for a federal solution to the problem once the Turkish army goes 
and AKEL leader Demetris Christofias pointedly referred to the Turkish 
Cypriots as "compatriots" in his victory address.

This gesture of good-will was not returned by the puppet leader, Rauf 
Denktash, the veteran Turkish Cypriot politician who administers northern 
Cyprus on the back of the guns of the Turkish army.

He dismissed the results claiming they showed that "Greek Cypriots have no 
intention of finding a solution".

Denktash is bitterly opposed to Cyprus's entry into the EU without a 
settlement as it would further isolate his "republic of northern Cyprus" 
which is recognised only by Turkey.

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New Worker, paper of New Communist Party (abridged)

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