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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-27

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, May 27, 2001


  • [01] Cyprus goes to the polls
  • [02] Russian woman taken off stop list after 98-year-old's Mamas appeal
  • [03] Fancy your movie talents? Then head off to the Acropole
  • [04] Police to probe claims that killed biker was being chased

  • [01] Cyprus goes to the polls

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE country goes to the polls to elect a new parliament today, with some 467,000 voters called to choose from among 454 candidates for the 56 House of Representatives seats.

    Weeks of rampant and often acrimonious electioneering came to an abrupt halt yesterday, with any form of campaigning or public meeting to discuss election matters officially banned as from midnight on Friday.

    Most 'vote for us' messages had been removed from billboards yesterday, though a smattering of the forbidden adverts could still be seen.

    Eight parties and six independent candidates have slogged it out in a pre- election campaign that, for the first time ever, has not had the Cyprus problem as its main bone of contention. Candidates and parties have instead focused on the island's EU accession course, the ailing Stock Market and the crime rate. Mudslinging and claims of dirty tricks have once again been a feature of the vote-wining battle.

    Almost all candidates have exceeded the amount they were legally permitted to spend on their campaigns, according to Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    With voting obligatory by law (failure to vote without providing reasonable justification is punishable by a fine of up to £200), most all of the 467, 182 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots today. Almost 60, 000 of those registered to vote are new voters.

    Cyprus Airways (CY) yesterday reported a huge influx of Cypriot students and workers flying in from abroad to vote today. The national carrier has offered 15,000 low price seats for parties to hand to their supporters abroad. Nonetheless, CY spokesman Tassos Angeli said most voters were coming in at their own expense. Eight extra flights were laid on yesterday: four from Athens, two from Salonica and two from London. More voters are expected to fly in this morning.

    Efforts to make arrangements for overseas Cypriots to vote abroad fell through during the election campaign.

    The 1,131 polling stations across the island open at 7am today, close at midday, re-open at 1pm and finally shut down at 5pm. The election officers in charge of each station are allowed to extent voting beyond the 5pm deadline if they deem this necessary. A special polling station will be set up for the 432 enclaved Greek Cypriots, who will travel from the occupied areas to cast their ballots.

    Around 10,000 policemen and civil servants are expected to be on duty at polling stations in the Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta districts today.

    Each polling centre will be manned by six civil servants and guarded by a policeman. One hundred officers will be on duty to guard the International Conference Centre in Nicosia, where the district's ballot boxes will be carried for vote counting. Votes for other districts will be taken to regional centres.

    The first election results are expected between 7 and 8pm today, while the final percentages garnered by each party should be known by 2am on Monday. Results concerning voter candidate preferences are not expected till around 8am on Monday.

    There are a record 86 women among the 454 candidates for the House.

    Five of the parties vying for votes today were represented in the last House, which dissolved itself on April 19. They are left-wing AKEL (the Progressive Party of the Working People), right-wing DISY (the Democratic Rally), centre-right DIKO (the Democratic Party), socialists KISOS (the Social Democrats Movement), and the centrist pro-European United Democrats party. AKEL, led by Demetris Christofias, won 33 per cent of the vote in the last elections, in 1996, while DISY, with Nicos Anastassiades at the helm, won 34.5 per cent. DIKO, now led by Tassos Papadopoulos, secured 16.4 per cent of the vote last time round, when Spyros Kyprianou was in charge. Vassos Lyssarides' KISOS (known as EDEK at the time) won 8 per cent and George Vassiliou's United Democrats got 3.69 per cent.

    Two of the other parties contesting tomorrow's election ran in 1996, but failed to win a seat. They are George Perdikis' Green party and Nicos Koutsou's right-wing anti-federalist party New Horizons. The new party in this year's elections in ADIK (the Fighting Democratic Movement), formed by former Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides in 1999.

    Among the six independents running for election today is Paphian Costas Outopos, who says he wants to rule the planet and implement Plato's utopia. His other campaign platform is free love.

    The Maronite and Armenian communities will each elect their single representative to the House at special polling stations. The Latin group representative, Benito Mantovani, was elected unopposed.

    Under the proportional representation system, a party or independent candidate needs to secure 1.79 per cent of the vote to win a seat in the House.

    Cyprus' eighth parliamentary elections are expected to cost £1.9 million, a little more that the 1996 elections.

    The day's voting developments will be given blanket coverage on almost all local television and radio stations. A rolling results service will operate on the Press and Information Office (PIO) office website, at

    Twenty Turkish Cypriot journalists are expected to cross from the north to cover today's elections.

    The new parliament will hold its inaugural session on June 7, the same day as the British general election.

    The Election Service yesterday warned that only black or blue ink was acceptable for ballot papers. The service also warned that the only acceptable way to mark ballot papers is with a cross, tick or x.

    Lost or worn election registration papers can be renewed at the offices of the Election Service in Nicosia or at any District office till 3pm today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Russian woman taken off stop list after 98-year-old's Mamas appeal

    By Rita Kyriakides

    A 98-YEAR-old man who was prepared to marry his Russian housekeeper in an effort to enable her to come back to Cyprus after her work permit expired was yesterday celebrating an Immigration decision to remove her from the stop list after he made an emotional television appearance to highlight his case.

    Alexandros Nicolaides has been having to rely on friends to help him since his housekeeper was deported in March after what he says was a misunderstanding with the Ministry of Interior.

    Nicolaides has no family and needs someone to be with him constantly because of his failing eyesight and hearing.

    Elena Chakhovets, aged 44 from Russia, worked for Nicolaides for seven and a half years as a housekeeper and nurse until her work permit was not renewed and she was forced to leave Cyprus earlier this year.

    With official channels having failed, he decided to appeal to well-known Sigma reporter Demetris Mamas, presenting his story on Mamas' chat show on Thursday night.

    “I didn't want to go public, but I didn't see any other way,” Nicolaides told the Sunday Mail yesterday.

    But his appearance has borne immediate results. Nicolaides said that since he had gone on air with Mamas, Chakhovets had been taken off the stop list and he was now eagerly awaiting her return.

    Nicolaides met her when he went to Russia on holiday in 1994 and offered her a job as his housekeeper and nurse. After several weeks Chakhovets phoned to accept his offer.

    A work permit is usually issued for two years, but Nicolaides had managed to get extensions until this year.

    Nicolaides has been appealing to the Ministry of Interior since last August for a further extension but to no avail.

    Nicolaides donated his property to Chakhovets in recognition of her service and in an effort to prevent her from being deported. According to the law, foreigners are allowed to buy property after showing external funds, but as it was a gift, which the Council of Ministers allowed, she immediately gained status and legal rights to be in Cyprus.

    Nicos Clerides, Nicolaides' lawyer, tried, without success, to speak to the Interior Minister, but the Ministry kept refusing to extend the permit.

    When the permit finally expired, police stormed Chakhovets' house and tried to arrest her in order to deport her, but could not because her did not have her passport. Chakhovets got scared and decided to buy a plane ticket to Russia on March 3. When she tried to apply to come back to Cyprus, she discovered she had been placed on the stop list.

    As a last resort, Nicolaides applied to the Ministry to allow her to come back so they could get married, but his application was rejected because the Ministry felt the wedding was under false pretences and were worried that Chakhovets was trying to take advantage of him.

    “It has been a tough fight but I didn't give up like most people would. Elena knows what I need and she took very good care of me,” a happy Nicolaides said yesterday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Fancy your movie talents? Then head off to the Acropole

    By Noah Haglund

    IF YOUR acting talents have gone unnoticed, this could be your big break. Cypriot director Michael Papas is looking for actresses and actors of all age categories, especially young adults, for parts in his new film, Slow Burn.

    Open auditions will take place one week from tomorrow, on Monday, June 4 at the Acropole Cinema in Nicosia between 11am and 1pm and between 2pm and 5pm. Greek and English speakers alike are welcome. No previous experience in film is necessary.

    Film graduates are also welcome to apply for technical positions on the film unit.

    Cyprian Films, the production company overseeing the picture, says it has already secured international distribution.

    The subject matter of the film, referred to as “highly original” in a Cyprian Films press release, is nevertheless being kept secret for now. The filmmakers have disclosed, however, that it is a “youth-oriented theme with a significant element of fantasy, springing out of the local perception of Cyprus as the centre of the world which may at any moment cause a world conflict.”

    These ideas will propel producer/director Michael Papas' screenplay through far-flung landscapes from Cyprus to the Sahara, London and the North Pole.

    Pre-production preparations are under way with plans to use the Acropole's large auditorium as a studio for filming of interior scenes

    Other Cypriot companies, whose names will be announced at a later stage, are also participating in the production, reports Cyprian Films.

    Papas' 1989 film, Lifetaker, currently showing at the Acropole, is a drama charged by the sexual tension between Lisa, a young and beautiful wife, and her wealthy husband James who is always away on mysterious business trips abroad. Lisa, weary of spending so much time alone, one day meets a young man who she seduces on impulse. That night, James arrives and discovers the lovers asleep together, but drives away without disturbing them. In the morning he returns, accepts the story Lisa tells him and persuades the young man to stay, sparking off a dangerous psychological game between the three protagonists. The movie stars Terence Morgan, Lea Dregorn and Peter Duncan.

    Michael Papas and his wife Susan decided to open the Acropole after returning to Cyprus from London at the beginning of the 90s. They discovered that over the previous decade the number of cinemas in Cyprus had dwindled from 200 to just a handful. By this time, most of the cinema buildings had been demolished and they found the Acropole in a dilapidated state, looking more like a derelict building than a movie house.

    The Acropole's new rising was part of a rebirth of the island cinema houses, which now number approximately 30. The venue caters primarily to non- mainstream tastes and shows a mix including American independent films as well as European (including English) and semi-commercial films.

    The Acropole is located at 20 Evripidou Street in Strovolos. Further details are available by telephone at 02-422240 after 7pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Police to probe claims that killed biker was being chased

    By a Staff Reporter

    FAMAGUSTA Police Headquarters will take a deeper look into the death of a motorcyclist who crashed on Friday after apparently fleeing a police unit who had spotted him without a helmet.

    National Guardsman Christodoulos Christodoulou of Liopetri, aged 21, died of injuries he received after crashing on a bend.

    According to witnesses, the young biker was in Liopetri square when members of a police motorcycle patrol spotted him without a helmet. They tried to stop Christodoulou, but he headed out of town and onto the highway.

    Christodoulou hit a car on a bend of the Sotira-Dherynia highway outside the Dherynia refugee estate and landed on the tarmac. He was immediately rushed to a local hospital where he later died.

    Witnesses said police had given chase, but Famagusta Police Chief Takis Katsikides insists the nearest policeman was 500 metres from the scene of the accident.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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