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Election date

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Election date

Postby Sotos » Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:03 pm

IT MAY be scorned in other parts of the world, but in Cyprus the Eurovision Song Contest is taken very seriously, and particularly if, like this year, it threatens an election.

To avoid losing thousands of possible votes, party leaders on the island have decided to bring forward the parliamentary election slated for May 21 because it clashes with the Eurovision.

Normally it might not have been an issue, but this year Greece is hosting the contest and thousands of Cypriots are expected to travel to Athens for the event, which means thousands of votes lost.

If Cypriots had to choose between spending the evening of May 20 looking at local politicians or watching last year’s Eurovision winner Elena Paparizou, the Greek singer would likely come in at ‘number one’ hands down. Or perhaps the politicians too plan to travel to Athens for the event, as it will be the first time Greece has hosted the competition.

"Party leaders believe if elections occur on the May 20/21 weekend voters would prefer Helena. They wouldn't be wrong," according to daily Politis, which reported the story yesterday.

The paper said that party leaders met on Thursday to discuss the problem and decided to bring forward the election to May 14 or May 7 rather than the weekend of 20-21. However, no final decision was taken.

An official at the CyBC, which is responsible for Cyprus’ Eurovision event, said yesterday they did not think the decision had very much to do with viewing figures. “We announced that the Eurovision would be broadcast on May 18 and 20,” said the official. “The decision has more to do with the fact that many Cypriots will be travelling to Athens for the contest.”

The official said that in excess of 80 per cent of the viewing Cypriot public watches the Eurovision. “Last year, it was 86 per cent,” she added.

Politis said the proposal was put forward by DISY, which also said that due to Easter falling in mid-April, the May 7 timing would be more advantageous for students who would be on holiday. It would also save the parties having to charter planes to bring in votes, the party said. Other parties said it was unlikely the students would be still around on May 7 and suggested May 14 instead.
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