Nikos Anastasiades was serving his second term as President of the Republic, after his re-election in February 2018, while a climate of general discredit of politics and politicians prevailed, while the reputation of the Republic of Cyprus abroad was at its lowest level ever. The widespread, universal perception of corruption in Cyprus was documented, among others, by reports by the international network Al Jazeera in August and October 2020, but also by the findings of two investigative committees appointed by the Government itself. They documented the involvement of the family law office of the President of the Republic in the sale of (European) passports and the violation of the laws by the Council of Ministers in more than 50% of the 7000 passports granted to “investors”. In the Al Jazeera report, the Speaker of the Parliament Dimitris Syllouris and an AKEL MP (who were forced to resign) were caught red-handed promoting illegal actions.

Corruption was not the only dominant element in the 2021 elections. The crisis caused by covid-19 since the spring of 2020 created a peculiar climate for conducting elections. Movement restrictions, a ban on gatherings, intensification of online communication and other related elements defined the conditions of a peculiar election campaign.

As expected, the dominant issue of this election was corruption, with the electorate almost unanimously stating in opinion polls that no party had the will and power to fight it.

Significant changes were recorded in the party scene, with extensive fragmentation of political forces being the more apparent feature, along with the eclipse of existing and the appearance of new formations. In the first line appears the Democratic Front (Δημοκρατική Παράταξη – ΔΗΠΑ), led by the former DIKO leader Marios Karoyan. DIPA joined forces with an independent group created by MPs who left DIKO in July 2020 to contest the elections.

The Generation Change Movement (Κϊνημα Αλλαγή Γενιάς) participated also in the election with at its head a former MP of the Citizens’ Alliance (which Alliance was on the verge of dissolution and cooperated with EDEK). Initially, there was an attempt by the Movement to cooperate with the Hunters Movement, a demarche that failed. The Hunters’ Movement also participated in the elections for the second time, while other formations also ran:

The Party Famagusta for Cyprus (Αμμόχωστος για την Κύπρο) focussed on the issue of the close city of Famagusta, which became the subject of news because of the opening by Turkey of part of the closed city to tourism.

The movement Afypnisi 2020 (Αφύπνηση 2020 – Awakening Movement) was mainly formed by bank security holders who had lost their money and rights because of the 2013 haircut and the negative answers their claims received by the banks and the system.

Together with the above participants, the Solidarity movement (Αλληλεγγύη – Allileggyi) (of which Dimitris Syllouris was a member), with the President of the former MEP Eleni Theoharous, and the non-parliamentary Party for Animals, Pnoi Laou and Patriotic Coalition of the former DISY MP Christos Rotsas also contested the elections. Seven independent candidates also ran for a seat in parliament.

The number of schemes participating in the competition led to a record number of candidates. A total of 658 candidates ran for 56 seats, compared to 488 candidates in the 2016 election. This shows an increase in the number of candidates by more than 30%.

A key element in the election campaign, in addition to what has already been mentioned, was the massive participation of the President and his ministers, with daily visits and media interventions and big promises for projects. The European Union’s plan for recovery from the effects of the coronavirus on the economy offered large amounts of funds for projects, which served the advertising needs of DISY. Advertising filled media space throughout the campaign period until the day of the election itself.

Key elements of the result were the loss of influence by dominant parties DISY, AKEL, DIKO and EDEK (taking into account that it cooperated with the Citizens’ Alliance which had 6% in 2016), with the opposition parties suffering greater losses than DISY. The main winners were DIPA, which maintained its long-standing participation in the spoils of power, and ELAM, which benefited from the adoption by other parties of its racist policies and positions.

DISY kept the top position with 27.77%, which marks a loss of 2.9 percentage units or 8500 votes. AKEL’s share slipped by 3.3 points or 11,000 votes, down to 22.34%, its lowest share ever. In the same vain as AKEL, DIKO lost 3.2 points securing only 11.29%. EDEK’s gain of 0.5 point, should be assessed in connection to presenting a joint ticket with Symmahia Politon – Συμμαχία Πολιτών of Giorgos Lillikas, which in 2016 secured 6%. It lost the fourth position to ELAM with 233 less. The alliance of DIPA with DIKO dissidents won 6.1% and four seats, while the Ecologists, under a new leadership lost 0.4 percentage units, securing 4.41%.

Parties that didn’t make it to the House of representatives gathered 14% of the vote. Thus, the threshold increase in 2015 deprived one in six voters having a representative in the House.

Abstention rate remained roughly at the same level as in the 2016 election; it increased by one point, to 34.28% from 33.26%.