Cabinet rules on party names for elections

Parties can use the same name in the upcoming parliamentary elections that they ran under in the previous elections given the short notice they were given that they cannot run under combination names, it was announced on Monday.

Cabinet, in an emergency meeting, approved an amendment to the law on parliamentary elections clarifying that parties can only run under their registered names. The decision follows a ruling by the attorney-general according to which parties or combinations can only register for the elections under the name registered in the political parties’ registry and nothing else.

The parties, some of which are running in cooperation with independents or other groups and had announced a combination name, were informed of this just last week. Therefore, cabinet said on Monday that because the amendment was made shortly before the parliamentary elections, parties can use the name under which they ran in the previous parliamentary elections in May 2016.

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Sunday that his ministry had turned to the attorney-general for advice on the matter after a number of questions submitted by parties that had asked to register for the election under specific names.

This decision affected the combination grouping under ‘Independents Movement-Cooperation KEKK (Movement of United Cypriot Hunters)’.

Head of the Independents, MP Anna Theologou, announced on Monday that, following the ruling, her movement was forced to interrupt its cooperation with the hunters’ party and run on its own.

The non-registered Independents Movement had agreed to join forces with the Hunters’ Movement which is a registered party, but according to the ruling, they would have to run only under the hunters’ party name.

Theologou said that this forced them to register the Independents as a party despite their initial intention not to do so.

“But we are forced to do so in order to be able to claim seats in the House of Representatives during the second distribution of votes,” she said.

Theologou added that they did not want for any vote to the Independent Movement to be lost “because of a system that is tailormade for rule by parties and prevents in every way every independent voice from being heard.”

She said that all they wanted was to give society an alternative independent option and their cooperation with the hunters’ party was based on the KEKK’s environmental positions as well as the belief that the role of every proper hunter was to contribute to maintaining a sustainable ecosystem. Since both the Independents and the KEKK want to present their work to society and to claim seats in the parliament without at the same time losing their own identity, they decided to run separately, she said.

Main opposition Akel reacted strongly to this ruling, arguing that it has been running under the name Akel-Left Wing-New Forces in the past 16 elections and was planning on doing the same in this one next month as well.

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