The first parliamentary elections after Cyprus’s accession to the European Union were of particular interest for a number of reasons: First of all, Cyprus found itself in a new environment, albeit under paradoxical conditions of admission because of the tensions in relations between Nicosia and Brussels, linked with the rejection of the Annan Plan. Second, everyone was expecting to see the effects of the 2004 referendum on DISY and, to a lesser extent, on AKEL. DISY had split up  with three new formations created by former senior executives and Mps of the party. Third, the links and dynamics of party competition were again pre-defined for the first time after 1988 by the fact that DIKO was in power again, with AKEL as its ally. This led to some changes from the usual right-left polarisation, modifying the point of gravity of the confrontation. Finally, an important element was the dynamics of the so-called in-between-left-and-right forces that supported the ‘no’ vote in the referendum, a loud ‘no’ indeed. To what extent would these forces capitalize on the 76% of the electorate that rejected the plan? Even though these forces failed (once again) to find common bases of understanding and a joint course of action , they were theoretically favoured by the momentum of the 2004 vote.
Of course, it had already been clear from the results of the June 2004 European elections, just weeks after the referendum, that the two major parties had resisted and largely absorbed the shocks. We also saw then that neither DIKO nor EDEK could capitalize on the ‘no’ vote. DIKO secured only 17.1%, while EDEK managed to exceed 10% but failed to win a seat in the European Parliament by 35 votes.
The two elements above are indicative of voters that clearly perceived the different stakes of each election, without confusing the goals and issues associated with a referendum and elections to the European Parliament or the House of Representatives. Of course, this does not negate an important finding, that the referendum had an important impact, on both the relative strength of political forces and, above all, on the cohesion of the parties. They were manifested as alienation from the electoral process leading to high rates of abstention in the European elections that affected all political forces. An important number of voters shifted their vote to the movement For Europe, winning it a seat.
In the 2006 election campaign, the DIKO focused all its efforts on drawing profit from controlling the executive with President Papadopoulos and from the party’s rejection of the Annan plan, ignoring the real character of the election. DISY had pointed to problems, financial and other, stressing that the citizen deserved something better, to have more power and a say in society. AKEL emphasized the collective “together” and its power to secure a better future, while EDEK cited the need and emphasized the benefits of reinforcing the party through the vote.
Of course, the fragmentation of the forces that supported the ‘no’, with the emergence of new formations EUROKO, EURODI and KEP, did not make a good impression to the voters who had rejected the Annan Plan. However, DIKO and EDEK entertained high expectations, for a share of vote that would exceed 20% for the former and approach 12% for the latter. In the case of the big parties, AKEL joined forces with the Front for the Reconstruction of the Center, issued from DIKO before 2003. DISY received the Political Modernization Movement of Christos Stylianides, formed government spokesperson of the Clerides government.
AKEL emerged winner of the election with more than 30% of the vote, with DISY closely second. The two parties won 31.1% and 30.3% respectively. DIKO, despite its expectations linked to its advantageous position from the exercise of power and the vote in the referendum, contended itself to 17.8%, with EDEK in a similar position, at 8.9%. EUROKO, whose core was the New Horizons, reinforced by senior executives, former DISY MPs, succeeded in electing three MPs, with 5.6% of the vote. It is the only one of the small parties entering the parliament, with EDI, KEP and EURODI left out, with 1.6%, 1.2% and 0.4% respectively.
Finally, the increase in abstention to 11%, from 8.3% in 2001, indicates a trend of political alienation of the voters. In the following contests, this trend will be reinforced, with a very sharp rise.