Cyprus Election Could Put a Peace Deal in Jeopardy

Cyprus Election Could Put a Peace Deal in Jeopardy
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, with his wife Andri and their grandson Andi, casts his ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary elections, Limassol, Cyprus, May 22, 2016 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

Last week, Cyprus held legislative elections. While the two biggest parties, the Democratic Rally and the Progressive Party of Working People, lost significant support, they still managed to come in first and second place, respectively. In an email interview, James Ker-Lindsay, the Eurobank EFG senior research fellow on the politics of Southeast Europe, discussed the recent elections and what they mean for politics in Cyprus.

WPR: What factors explain the declining support for the two main parties—the Democratic Rally (DISY) and the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL)—and the rise of the far right in the recent legislative elections in Cyprus?

James Ker-Lindsay: I think that there are a number of factors that explain the decline in support for the two main parties. In the case of AKEL, the Cypriot communist party, which came in second with 25 percent of the vote, the answer is straightforward. Voters have, rightly, held it responsible for the massive economic crisis that occurred in 2013. Although it was not in power when the crisis broke, the foundations had been laid under its watch. In the case of DISY, which won with 30 percent of the vote, the drop in support was not as bad as many believed possible. While it took some blame for the financial crisis, AKEL was still held to be the main culprit. At the same time, DISY’s drop in support could also be due to the usual mid-term blues faced by ruling parties.

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