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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-05-03

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    More than 500 hopefuls submit their bid today for this months parliamentary elections, to take place in just over two weeks time.

    Eight parties will contest the elections putting forward 56 candidates, as many as the parliamentary seats. Another three parties will run for parliament with less than 56 candidates and independent candidates have also announced their bid.

    Representatives for the three religious groups at the House (Latins, Armenians and Maronites) will also submit their candidacies today. Each group is represented at the House by one elected representative, who has no voting rights in parliament.

    For the first time votes will be counted at the polling stations, whereas in past elections all ballot boxes used to be transported to a central location in the capital Nicosia to be counted.

    Turkish Cypriots residing in the southern government controlled part of Cyprus, 270 of them, will also vote in these elections.

    Greek Cypriots, living in the northern Turkish occupied part of the island, will be able to cast their vote in specific polling stations in Nicosia.

    First results are expected at around 2100 on Sunday May 21. Cyprus applies proportional representation. Registered voters, eligible to vote, stand at nearly 500,000.

    As things stand, Nicosia district elects 21 deputies, Limassol 12, Famagusta 11, Larnaca 5, Paphos 4 and Kyrenia 3. Voters have to be 18 or over and can indicate their preference for a specific candidate by placing a cross against his or her name on the ballot paper.

    Lazaros Savides, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Interior, has been appointed as Chief Returning Officer with overall responsibility for the elections. He is to be assisted by Demetris Demetriou, as his deputy.

    About 1250 polling stations will operate on election day, at least 60 more than in the previous parliamentary elections in May 2001.

    Voting is compulsory by law but nobody has been prosecuted in the past 10 to 15 years for failing to cast his vote.


    The relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States show constant improvement, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos pointed out.

    ``The relations between both countries are improving constantly. Our relations are good, when there is good understanding. We want cooperation and friendship with the US but we will not sacrifice want we see as our basic national interests,`` President Papadopoulos noted, replying to comments that after his interview with Greek newspaper ``Eleftheros Typos`` the relations between Cyprus and the US were deteriorating.


    The President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos leaves tonight for Egypt on an official visit (May 3 to 7), at the invitation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

    This will be the first official visit of a Cypriot President to Egypt since the visit of the late President Archbishop Makarios III in 1966.

    According to an official press release, the visit is expected to boost political, economic and commercial relations between the two friendly countries, while a significant number of bilateral agreements will be signed.

    President Papadopoulos will hold meetings with Mubarak, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, Speaker of the Egyptian People`s Assembly Ahmed Fathy Sorour and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and will visit Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, as well as the Alexandria Library, to which he will donate a large number of books.


    Cypriot House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias has sent letters to the Italian Parliament`s President of the Chamber of Deputies Fausto Bertinotti and President of the Senate Franco Marini, congratulating them on their election.

    Wishing them every success in their new, highly demanding duties, Christofias refers to the close and traditionally friendly relations between the Cypriot and the Italian Parliaments, as well as the excellent cooperation both on bilateral and international level.

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