Cyprus’ Political System & Island Divide
Nicos Anastasiades is Cyprus’ current President and was elected in early 2013. The conservative candidate runs the right-wing DISY political party and won the election by one of the widest margins in decades in Cyprus, with 57% of the vote.
The division of the island remains a key political issue for Cyprus, with frequent UN-led negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders gained substantial support following the election win of Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci since 2015. The two Leaders have been holding peace talks for nearly two years in an effort to reunite the island and have accelerated considerable efforts to reach a sustainable solution that benefits everyone. Although the negotiations are proving to be tough, both parties have highlighted their robust resolve and determination to uphold the current momentum.
In the 1960s, Cyprus gained independence from the UK and became an official state comprised of both Greek and Turkish-Cypriots. In July 1974, a right-wing coup backed by the Greek military regime in power overturned the democratically elected government, which forced the Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios to leave the island. This provoked Turkey, one of the guarantor powers, to send troops to Cyprus in support of the Turkish Cypriots which were the minority by an 80/20 ratio.
Violent fighting followed and the ensuing ceasefire line, known as the Green Line and currently patrolled by the UN, has effectively separated the island ever since. Today, Nicosia is the world’s last divided capital. The population of the southern part of the island is almost entirely Greek Cypriot and known as the Republic of Cyprus, while the population of the northern section is controlled by the breakaway Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), the two lead entirely separate democratic elections today.
Greek-Cypriot Political Parties
- Democratic Rally (abbreviated to DISY), a right-wing party.
- Progressive Party of the Working People (abbreviated to AKEL), a left-wing party.
- Democratic Party (abbreviated to DIKO), a centre-right party.
- Movement of Social Democracy (abbreviated to EDEK), a social democratic party.
- Cyprus Green Party.
- ELAM (National Popular Front).
- Citizens’ Alliance.
- Solidarity Movement.