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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-16

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] No legal obstacles for Cyprus joining EU, says Cook
  • [02] Steps to upgrade Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [03] Record number in Cyprus presidential elections

  • 1040:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] No legal obstacles for Cyprus joining EU, says Cook

    Washington, Jan 16 (CNA) -- British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has said there are no legal obstacles for Cyprus to join the European Union and disputed the Turkish view on the issue.

    He placed Cyprus among the strongest candidates as its market economy is one of the best developed among countries that have applied for European Union (EU) membership.

    "In our view there is no legal bar to Cyprus seeking to be a member of the EU," Cook said, commenting on the opinion of Turkish officials that, according to the 1960 agreements by which the Cyprus Republic was established, the island cannot join an international body, like the EU, if both Greece and Turkey are not also members.

    Replying to a Turkish journalist's question after a speech at the European Institute, Thursday, the top British official said "on the question of Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus, can I say that we would dispute the legal view you take."

    "On the contrary, we regard Cyprus as one of the strongest candidates for membership. Among all the applicant countries, it has the highest standard of living and the best-developed market economy," he added.

    Cyprus has been included in the first group of countries with which the EU will begin accession talks in April this year.

    Cook added Cyprus "has made very substantial progress in reforming its laws to bring them into line with the EU."

    "Of course it would be very much better if Cyprus were to come into the EU as one single island and this is why we are encouraging the Republic of Cyprus to include Turkish Cypriots in its negotiating team," he added.

    The Cyprus government has also said it would prefer a settlement of the Cyprus problem before EU accession, but welcomes the fact this is not an EU condition.

    The government of the Republic also agrees with Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession talks, provided they are part of its official team and support the Republic's membership.

    Cook stressed that Turkish Cypriots have more to gain from Cyprus' EU accession as their standard of living is "at a quarter" of the level of that in the government-controlled part of the Republic.

    He said Turkish Cypriots "would gain immensely from the economic and structural fund support of the EU."

    Cook described EU relations with Turkey as one of the main challenges to the six-month British presidency.

    The British Foreign Secretary said Turkey could join the EU, provided that it satisfies the criteria that apply to all countries that are looking towards Union membership.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998

    [02] Steps to upgrade Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Jan 16 (CNA) -- Cyprus Finance Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou, announced today four measures, aimed to increase rapidly the volume of transactions at the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE).

    After a meeting with the heads of the CSE, the island's stockbrokers, and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), Christodoulou said the new measures constitute strong incentives for investors.

    Under the first measure, he noted, offshore companies will be allowed to invest in listed companies' stocks, keeping their status as offshore companies.

    The second measure provides that the tax rate of companies, which will seek listing within the four coming years, will be cut by 50 per cent, for five years, he added.

    The third provides that the cost of acquisition of new-listed shares, will be partly exempt from tax.

    The fourth is that Greek companies will be allowed to seek a CSE listing, which will offer new opportunities to Cypriot investors, the Finance Minister added.

    On his part, Dinos Papadopoulos, CSE Chairman, said the new incentives were substantial, and would help the CSE rapidly.

    KEVE President, Vassilis Rologis noted that the measures were upgrading the CSE.

    Louis Clappas, a major stockbroker, said the measures would lead new companies to be listed.

    CNA GG/GP/1998

    [03] Record number in Cyprus presidential elections

    by Maria Chrysanthou

    Nicosia, Jan 16 (CNA) -- A record number of candidates will contest February's presidential elections for the highest office of the Republic of Cyprus. For the first time, 18-year-olds are entitled to cast their vote.

    The seventh presidential elections will be contested by seven candidates, among whom are political leaders, who have been in the lime- light of the Republic's political life since its establishment 37 years ago.

    President Glafcos Clerides and socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides were among the first members of the House of Representatives in 1960 when the Republic was established and have both played an active role in Cyprus politics ever since.

    Under the 1960 Constitution, the executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office.

    The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him.

    The candidate to be elected to the presidency must receive more than fifty per cent of the vote. If none of the candidates attains the required majority, the election is repeated on the corresponding day of the following week, between the two candidates who received the greater number of votes.

    The first presidential elections were held in August 1960, when Cyprus gained independence from Britain, which relinquished its colonial rule over the island.

    Archbishop Makarios III was elected Head of the Republic, attaining 67 per cent of the vote against his contestant lawyer, Ioannis Clerides, father of current President and candidate for the February elections, Glafcos Clerides.

    Makarios was elected to the presidency two more times, in 1968 when he won by 93,45 per cent over psychiatrist, Takis Evdokas and in 1973, when he won uncontested.

    Elections due to be held in 1964 were not held because of intercommunal violence which resulted in the withdrawal of Turkish Cypriots from the government.

    Archbishop Makarios remained President until his death in August 1977, when Spyros Kyprianou, leader of the centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO), who was at the time President of the House of Representatives, took over.

    Kyprianou won unopposed February's 1978 elections, following Makarios' death.

    In February 1983 Kyprianou was re-elected to the post after forming an alliance with the leftwing AKEL, based on a "minimum programme" between the two parties, which Kyprianou deserted two years later.

    At the 1983 elections, Kyprianou attained 56,5 per cent of the vote against 33,9 per cent by his contestants, Clerides, leader of rightwing Democratic Rally (DISY) and 9,5 per cent by Socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides.

    In 1988, Kyprianou lost to independent candidate, economist George Vassiliou, who was at time described as a "newcomer".

    Vassiliou was elected President during the second round of elections in February 1988. He was supported by AKEL right from the start, while during the second ballot EDEK, whose leader had stood as candidate during the first round, also lent him its support.

    He won by 51,63 per cent, against 48,36 per cent that went to Clerides.

    Vassiliou and Clerides were also the main contestants in the 1993 elections but this time the latter beat the former by a mere 0,31 per cent.

    Clerides, supported by his party (DISY) and during the second round by DIKO, attained 50,31 per cent against Vassiliou's 49,69 per cent.

    The seven candidates contesting February's elections are Glafcos Clerides, supported by rightwing DISY, former Foreign Minister George Iacovou supported by leftwing AKEL and centre-right DIKO, Vassos Lyssarides supported by socialist EDEK, former President of the Republic George Vassiliou, supported by the United Democrats, former Foreign Minister Nicos Rolandis, leader of the Liberal Party, Nicos Koutsou, New Horizon's leader and Famagusta MP Alexis Galanos.

    Elections on Sunday, (February 8), will show a record both in the number of candidates and in the number of voters.

    Due to an amendment to the Constitution passed by the House of Representatives in November last year, the age limit has been lowered from 21 to 18.

    Provisions are also made so that enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic can exercise their constitutional right of voting.

    CNA MCH/GP/1998
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