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Ballot slips approved.


Poly Pantelides

PREPARATIONS are fully underway for the May 22 parliamentary elections and the Interior Ministry started yesterday to print the ballots which will be used on the day.

Two successive meetings yesterday, one with election services officials and another with representatives from all 10 parties standing in the elections, kept the ministry's Permanent Secretary and Chief Returning Officer Lazaros Savvides busy.

Last minute details were discussed and apparently settled with all the parties and "the ballot samples should be ready by Thursday, Friday the latest," Savvides said.

"We have about 531,000 voters and just to be on the safe side we will issue 550,000 ballots in total," Savvides added.

The elections have also attracted the interest of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which has sent 10 of its representatives to oversee the electoral procedure.

"They're not coming here to verify the Interior Ministry's procedures," Savvides said.

Their goal, he added, is instead partially educational: to learn and pass on knowledge and experience to other countries.

OSCE will also be checking out candidates' election budget, the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation's inner workings to ensure they are treating all parties fairly and also the application of the February 2011 legislation on parties' campaign funds.

Ballot colours for each district will be different with blue for Famagusta, white for Nicosia, yellow for Limassol, cherry red for Kyrenia, green for Paphos and pink for Larnaca.

Ballot slip sizes will also be different in every district, a result of having a different numbers of candidates, Savvides explained.

He added that this should all make each district's ballot even easier to tell apart and will enable election services to use without confusion ballot slips for different districts which appear in the same ballot box. This happens when, for instance, a refugee from Kyrenia, but living and voting in Nicosia, votes for candidates from his home district.

On election day, voters in Cyprus and Greece will have a chance to elect their house representatives between the hours of 7am and 6:30pm with a break between 12pm and 1pm.

In the UK, voting hours will be between 8am and 4:30pm with a half an hour break at 12:30pm.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:May 10, 2011
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