The presidential election of 1968 was the catalyst for reactivating political action, which started with the formation of new parties. AKEL was until early 1968 the only organized party, while the Patriotic Front constituted only a loose formation of persons – deputies under that label. Over time, the positions of these MPs had significantly diverged from their initial ones or conflicted, both on the Cyprus Problem and on other issues, including internal affairs and social policies.

Three months after the presidential elections, in May 1968, Takis Evdokas established the first, and sole for many years to come, party opposing Makarios and his policies. The Democratic National Party – DEK was strongly criticizing Makarios, mainly through its own mouthpiece, Gnomi, which adopted a tabloid format and its own style and content in the press.

A few months later, in February 1969, we witness a proliferation of new parties, all in the camp supporting Makarios and his policies. Within a few days, four parties were formed. Glafcos Clerides, together with interior minister Polykarpos Giorkatzis, established the United Party of the Nationalist Front or simply the Unified – Eniaion Party. Vassos Lyssarides founded the Unified Democratic Union of the Center – EDEK, Nikos Sampson the Progressive Party, and various notable figures of labour and farmers unions SEK and PEK, the Progressive Front. Until the death of the archbishop and president, in 1977, the only opposition activity to his policies came from DEK, the Democratic Nationalist Party.

The time from the founding of the new parties until the elections were held (5 July 1970), offered opportunities for consultations between them aiming to find common ground for cooperation or mergers. Newspapers reports referred to attempts for understanding between the Unified Party and the Progressive Front, but also for the possibility of a partnership between EDEK, AKEL, the Progressive Party and the Progressive Front, against the Unified Party.

The President of the Republic played an important role in the activity aimed at the cooperation of political forces. Eventually, the Progressive Party of Nikos Sampson joined at the end forces with the Progressive Front, led by Odysseas Ioannides, deputy-mayor of Nicosia.

Full ticket candidacies in all constituencies were submitted only by the Eniaion Party and the Progressive Front. As in 1960, AKEL presented in this election too only nine candidates, two in each of the big constituencies (Nicosia, Limassol and Famagusta) and one in the other three. EDEK “supplemented” the number of AKEL candidacies (matching so the total number of seats of each constituency) with 10 candidates in Nicosia and five in Limassol, while in other constituencies the sum of candidates of the two parties is lower than the number of seats. DEK, the party of Takis Evdokas presented 19 candidates, distributed in all constituencies, while there were also 19 independent candidates.

For the first time, five parties were claiming seats in parliament.

Elections featured a significant abstention rate of over 24% and, above all, a mutual shift /interchange of votes between AKEL and EDEK, and a strong support for DEK, significantly higher than the vote to Takis Evdokas in the presidential election of 1968. The obvious target of the mutual shift of votes between AKEL and EDEK was the Eniaion Party. This was brokered by Makarios himself aiming to limit the power of the Eniaion  and not allow it a majority in the House. The plurality voting system, the possibility for the voter to choose candidates from more than one parties, and the self-restrain of AKEL, claiming a very limited number of seats, all these factors allowed a transfer of votes from AKEL to other parties in a way that made it possible to them to win seats at the expense of the Eniaion Party.

The results below clearly show how EDEK received support in Nicosia and Larnaca. EDEK’s partisan votes were about 50% of the total votes it received, due to the shift of votes by AKEL to specific candidates, namely Vassos Lyssarides, Christoforos Christofides and one or two others. We can also see that, to some extent, the Progressive Front received votes from AKEL, especially in Famagusta.

The final results put AKEL on top in votes, while the Unified sealed more seats, but without winning the majority. Thus, by electing only 15 out of 35 MPs it failed to its main electoral objective to control the parliament. AKEL occupied the nine seats it claimed, the Progressive Front elected seven deputies and EDEK two, while independent candidates, apparently supporters of Makarios, who were primed by pro-Makarios parties, took the remaining three seats.

Interesting is the very angry reaction of Vasos Lyssarides, who denounced the outcome, obviously because he expected a higher shift of votes to his party by AKEL, and to elect more MPs. Articles in the weekly newspaper Alithia highlighted the phenomenon of the shift of votes and castigated the practice.