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Nazi party enters Greek-Cypriot parliament

Source: HOPE not hate/Greek Helsinki Monitor | Tuesday, 24 May 2016

From Panayote Dimitras for Greek Helsinki Monitor in Athens

The near-victory of the extreme-right in the Austrian presidential elections on 22 May overshadowed the results of the elections for the 56 Greek-Cypriot seats in the divided island’s parliament that saw a first ever success for the nazi ELAM (National People’s Front) party.

Exceeding the electoral threshold, raised in November 2015 from 1.8% to 3.6%, ELAM secured two seats with 3.7% of the votes (compared with 1.1% in the previous elections in 2011).

One went to its leader, Christos Christou, who was a member of the Political Council of Golden Dawn when he was living in Greece, and openly declares: “We are the Golden Dawn of Cyprus.” In fact, in 2008, the party first filed for registration as Golden Dawn but the Cypriot Ministry of the Interior rejected the title that was then replaced by ELAM.

The ELAM result should be seen in the context of a success of new and fringe parties: at the other end of the political spectrum, Cyprus Greens – Citizens Cooperation saw their share of the vote rise from 2.2% to 4.8%, and their seats from one to two. Two new parties, the Solidarity Movement (5.2%) and Citizens’ Alliance (6%), secured three seats each.

The two large Greek Cypriot parties lost heavily in votes and seats. The right-wing Democratic Rally (DISY) remained first with 30.7% and 18 seats (a loss of 3.7% and of two seats), and the communist Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) came second with 25.7% and 16 seats (a loss of 7.1% and of three seats).

The two largest parties are the only ones favouring on-going negotiations between the Greek-Cypriot and the Turkish-Cypriot leaders aiming at the island’s reunification.

The two new parties, however, are in effect splinters from the two large parties based mainly on a rejectionist attitude towards the negotiations. The other two traditional parties, the centrist Democratic Party (14.5% and 9 seats) and socialist Movement of Social Democrats – EDEK (6.2% and three seats) also lost votes (-1.3% and -2.8% respectively), while EDEK also lost two seats: both are rejectionist.

The results in Cyprus indicate a profound dissatisfaction with the four traditional parties that have lost 15% of the vote since 2011 but also reflect a nervousness with the prospect of reunification as the only two parties supporting it lost 11% and are now supported by a slender popular majority of 56% that may be in jeopardy in the event of any referendum on reunification.

In 2004, Greek Cypriots rejected the so-called Annan Plan for reunification with 76%, while Turkish Cypriots had approved it by 65%. The success of the nazi ELAM is due to its double anti-party and anti-reunification (often overtly anti-Turkish Cypriot) platform.

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