Greek Cyprus elects first Turkish Cypriot as member of European Parliament
Among the six MEPs elected was university professor Niyazi Kızılyürek, 59, who was on the ticket of the main Greek Cypriot opposition party, the communist Akel.
A Greek Cypriot party having a Turkish Cypriot running was unique for Cyprus, as was the stream of 5,600 voters who crossed the U.N.-patrolled ceasefire line to cast ballots in the government-controlled south.
Turkish Cypriots are considered EU citizens and have the right to run and vote in European elections, even though under the current constitution they cannot participate in parliamentary ballots in the south.
There were an unprecedented nine Turkish Cypriots in the running to be MEPs.
Kızılyürek, a self-confessed European federalist, campaigned on both sides of the divide on a pro-reunification platform.
The vote comes at a time of rising tensions with Turkey amid a dispute with the Greece and Greek Cyprus government over energy drilling rights.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. - ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
Three German-Turkish politicians elected
The socialist Die Linke’s lead candidate Özlem Alev Demirel, a Turkey-born politician, was also elected as an MEP.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative-left coalition government suffered huge losses on May 26’s elections at the European Parliament, while the environmentalist and pro-immigration Green Party’s votes were at a record high.
According to the preliminary election results, Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc won 29 of Germany’s 96 seats at the European Parliament. The SPD, after its worst showing in European elections, could only win 16 seats.
The pro-European Green Party secured 21 seats at the parliament, up from 11 seats it had in the previous term.
The opposition Die Linke Party won five seats, while the far-right AfD secured 11 seats.