The case of EDEK is of particular interest for a variety of reasons, including its ideological orientations, its relations with forces outside Cyprus, the ideological composition of its leadership and its voters. Doctor Vassos Lyssarides, the personal physician of the Archbishop and President Makarios founded the party, which took its name with reference to the Union of the Center, George Papandreou’s party in Greece in the 1960s. After AKEL, it is the oldest party, founded in 1969, featuring support to Makarios and actively supporting resistance to the dictatorship of the colonels in Athens. The resistance to the Greek Junta coup against Makarios in July 1974 and its strong support for the return of Makarios to his office in Cyprus after the coup were key elements of the party’s policy that attracted the public’s admiration and support. EDEK, however, did not succeed in benefiting from this support and expanding its influence in elections.

The party’s initial support base consisted of pro-Makarios elements, mainly in the Paphos region, a constituency in which it has usually secured the highest rates. It has also extended its influence to villages on the northern slope of the Troodos Mountains, in communities that were to some extent under the influence of the very powerful Kykkos Monastery. Another portion of its supporters belong to the middle and petty bourgeoisie, concentrated in the capital Nicosia and its suburbs. They belonged in different parts of the ideological spectrum, as we find among them center-right and nationalist elements, with roots in the liberation struggle of EOKA, and center-left and leftist elements, influenced by May 1968 and other ideological movements. The latter were once the most active group among EDEK cadres.

Differences in ideology and personal ambitions at the leadership level, led to splits and dismissals of cadres. A dominant feature of the party has been its commitment to Gaddafi and Baathist socialist ideals until the early 1980s. It was greatly influenced by Lyssarides’ close relations with the Afro-Asian liberation movements and country leaders in the Middle East and North Africa. The situation began to gradually change, with the “discovery” of Euro-Socialism, after the rise of Socialists to power, in Greece, France and elsewhere. There have been several cases, where EDEK positions on social and labor matters, have very often  been more left-wing than those of AKEL, while the party has systematically followed a nationalist stance on the Cyprus Issue, together with the Democratic Party.

The party’s territorial presence is limited to low figures in 40% of the communities. At the beginning of the new millennium, the influence of EDEK appeared overall stronger in urban than in rural areas. In reality, however, the average in urban areas, was affected to a large extent by its vote share in the city and the outskirts of Nicosia and Paphos. In 2016, the party’s strength in the cities and suburbs of Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol ranged as low as between 3% and 5%.
In 1985, EDEK increased significantly its vote share from 8% to 11%, while in 1991 it received the same percentage of votes again. In fact, there had been changes in terms of the composition of the vote. There were gains in the countryside and losses in urban areas, while in the 1996 and 2001 elections the party influence continued to decline with the composition of its voters featuring various ideological and geographical characteristics. When comparing the 2001 to the 1996 vote we see than in half the communities there had been small to very large losses, while in the other half there have taken place small to large gains.

EDEK’s negative stance on the Annan Plan referendum in 2004 is probably a factor that contributed to its recovery, from 6.2% in 2001 to 8.9% in 2006, a percentage that it retained in 2011, but with several voting variations and trends across the island.

The influence of EDEK among displaced persons is similar to that of DIKO, i.e. limited influence, and more pronounced decline when the party suffered losses.
In an effort to define an ideological stigma, the Socialist Party EDEK (S.K.EDEK) was transformed in 2000 into KISOS (Movement of Social Democrats), after an attempt to expand its base support by including forces from the wider center-left camp. The experiment did not succeed and KISOS returned in 2001 under the name K.S. EDEK (EDEK Social Democrat Movement).

Changes in the party’s leadership in 2014 with Marinos Sizopoulos assuming the party presidency (after the departure of Giannakis Omirou) led to internal conflicts and the weakening of the party. Its vote decreased from 8.9% to 6.2% in 2016, a loss of 30%.
The overall evaluation of the last thirty years’ performance is quite negative for EDEK (decline of vote by 44%), and catastrophic to some extent in terms of its influence in urban areas. On average, it has suffered higher losses in Nicosia, where, until 1990, its influence in some quarters was as high as 15%. In fact, it has been deprived of the most active and ideologically strong group of the party, which has turned to other parties or been disengaged from politics. EDEK has been left with a small core of cadres and a mass of ordinary voters, without a particularly active participation in the party affairs.