Cyprus has long allowed its citizens have other citizenships. Like Armenia, they only hold elections on the island. They are about to hold presidential elections and the citizens are flying to their home to cast their votes.
Voters arrive in droves ahead of elections
By Alexia Saoulli
THE arrival of voters from abroad ahead of Sunday’s presidential elections has been relentless throughout the week.
Around 20,000 voters are due to fly back to the island to cast their votes in what promises to be the most exciting elections since Cyprus’ independence in 1960.
Cyprus Airways is transporting the lion’s share of voters, having set aside 14,700 seats which have been shared equally between the three main runners’ campaign teams including incumbent President Tassos Papadopoulos, AKEL’s Demetris Christofias and DISY’s Ioannis Kasoulides.
The remaining passengers are expected to fly in on tickets booked by the candidates’ political parties with other airlines including Olympic Airways, Aegean, Monarch and British Airways.
The Cyprus Airways tickets were sold to the campaign teams at special rates due to the mass bookings, the national carrier’s spokesman Kyriakos Kyriakou said.
The seats were made available on the airlines already scheduled flights, with the majority of voters due to fly in from Athens, Salonica and London.
Only yesterday a number of extra flights from Athens, Heraklion and Salonica were scheduled to transport the 1,200 passengers affected from Wednesday’s 24-hour all out strike in Greece, he said.
“The arrival of voters started slowly from last week, on February 8 and 10, and is escalating this week, and the majority of voters from abroad are expected to fly in today and tomorrow,” Kyriakou said.
He said flights transporting voters would continue until Sunday, although the main bulk of passengers were due yesterday and today.
“Today for example, Cyprus Airways is due to fly voters from abroad on 38 scheduled flights,” he said.
“Last week 1,200 passengers were due to arrive on flights confirmed from the campaign teams and parties, this week we have another 7,100 seats confirmed and for the second round of elections another 6,400 seats have been confirmed, which comes to a total of around 14,700 seats,” he said.
Where a candidate failed to get through to the second round, political parties had four days to reconfirm the bookings, otherwise the seats were offered to the other candidates, Kyriakou concluded.
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008