Political History

Cyprus has lived in freedom only since 1960, following long centuries of foreign domination. The island’s geopolitical value has turned it into a target of regional and remote powers that succeeded one another as its masters.

Some glimpses of political life emerged at the beginning of the British rule (1878-1960). Under conditions of limited freedoms political development remained very limited.

Cyprus was declared an independent republic in August 1960, following a four year anti-colonial army struggle and the London and Zurich agreements (February 1959).

In December 1959, the first presidential elections took place, and in July 1960 the first parliament of the Republic was elected. Inter-communal strife erupted in Christmas 1963 led to a Greek Cypriot control of power. Presidential elections were suspended until 1968 and parliamentary until 1970.

The only organized political force during this period was the communist party AKEL (Progressive Party of the Working People). In May 1968, the Democratic National Party (DEK) was formed, to be followed in early 1970 by four new parties, the United Nationalistic Party (Eniaion), the United Democratic Center Party (EDEK), the Progressive Front and the Progressive Party.

Following the upheaval caused by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in summer 1974, new political forces emerged; the centre Democratic Front (renamed Democratic Party) and the right wing Democratic Rally were founded in 1976 and along with AEKL and EDEK they occupied the front of the scene since then. A number of minor parties appeared after 1980, few of them managed to survive electoral failure.

Following the crisis of 1963, the Turkish Cypriots organized their own administrative structures and in December 1967 they declared the “Temporary Autonomous Administration”. The Turkish invasion and the complete territorial segregation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots led to a new situation and the self-proclaimed “ Turkish Federated State of Cyprus ” (1975) succeeded by the “ Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus ” (1983). Only Turkey recognized them, the United Nations condemned the proclamation as null and void.

The major Turkish Cypriot political forces are the Turkish Republican Party (CTP), formed in 1970, the National Unity Party (BEP), founded in 1975 by Rauf Denktash, the Communal Liberation Party (1976) and the Democratic Party, formed in 1992 following a split in National Unity Party and a merger with the New Down Party, the political umbrella of the Anatolian settlers.

Elections, parties and politics are objects of attention and scientific study only in recent years.




























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