Following the election of George Vassiliou as President of the Republic in 1988, the party scene had evolved in a different context from previous elections. The president of the state did not belong to a party, did not have his own party and was not bound by any party bonds. Parliamentary elections were held without direct relevance to or dependence on the executive power.

Within this context, many realized the real relationship between the executive and the parliament, in particular non-dependence of the government on the parliament. Of course, the three years that had elapsed since March 1988 had offered examples illustrating that situation and convinced people that, institutionally, there could be a government beyond and above parties. This was helped by Vassiliou’s policy of maintaining good relations with the parties.

A direct result of the new situation was the absence of passion during the election campaign, to the extent that it could be said that the 1991 Parliament was elected in a climate of relative apathy or even indifference of the citizens.

In addition to the above, there was a relative disengagement from a rhetoric calling on Makarios’ legacy and of certain parties presenting themselves as the chosen ones, those that inherited His legacy. The cleavage between pro- and anti-Makarios groups appeared also significantly weakened.
The above took place under a new light, in a new international environment that has had its impact on Cyprus too. The collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern and Central Europe and the idea of ​​a so-called “existing socialism” created a turmoil within AKEL. It was preceded by the death, one year earlier, of Ezekias Papaioannou, the party’s secretary general for four decades, and the election of Demetris Christofias as his successor. The in-party turmoil, accompanied by exclusion or departure of key party officials also affected party-affiliated organizations, which elected new leaders.

Changes had also taken place in the media landscape and the role of the press. The significant number of newspapers – party mouthpieces that existed during the 1980s was signically reduced. At the same time, non-partisan newspapers were continuing a trend that started in the previous decade; while they were in essence favoring a party, they were also presenting in their columns the positions and activities of all the political forces. The practice followed by the newspapers up to the 1970s of choosing a camp, of one-sided or biased presentation of the political forces and their themes of the election campaign was abandoned to a great extent.

Also visible was the growing role of party communication consultants, usually from Athens. Programs and election material started to be in line with the rules of modern political communication, or at least an attempt was being made in this direction.

In 1990, two new formations emerged, contesting the elections. The Renewal Democratic Socialist Movement – Ανανεωτικό Δημοκρατικό Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα (ADISOK) was founded by former AKEL cadres and other leftist forces. The Cyprus Refugee Party – Παγκύπριο Κόμμα Προσφύγων (PAKOP) was created (with the blessings of Archbishop Chrysostomos) with the intent to offer a political shelter to refugees. In the face of the crisis, AKEL made efforts to broaden its appeal by adopting the label AKEL – Left – New Forces, and promoting candidates beyond the circle of its members and officials.

The May 1991 election results showed a face exactly the opposite of December 1985: It was a failure for DIKO, which saw a sharp decline of its vote share, while significant profits were made by AKEL, despite the split and defection of key party officials. DISY’s profits were not negligible, even if they were achieved through an alliance with the Liberal Party and the absorption of NEDIPA.

The Democratic Rally maintained its position as the first party, gaining more than two points compared to its 1985 score. It was leading in percentages in all constituencies except Kyrenia, where AKEL outperformed it by four points. The gains made by AKEL reduced the gap separating it from DISY. DIKO lost the advantage it had before or acquired in 1985. Even in Paphos, where it was ahead of all by a large margin, it receded into second place (from 38% in 1985, to 27.1% in 1991, while DISY made a leap from 22% up to 28.5%). EDEK maintained the same overall vote share as in 1985, 10.9%, but the results analysis indicates a shift in influence. It shows significant losses in urban centers (mainly in Nicosia) and analogous gains in the countryside. The share of the two new parties, ADISOK and PAKOP was low, at 2.4% and 0.6% respectively, not sufficient enough to win a seat in the parliament.