Following a rise in xenophobic sentiment in the country, a far-right party with links to Greece’s own neo-nazi party is set to become the fourth-largest in the disputed island.
In the Greek Cypriot administered island, the far-right, neo-nazi party National Popular Front (Elam) has doubled its vote share following Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
Elem’s shock gains come on the back of an election dominated by government corruption and rising xenophobia over increasing levels of migrants coming to the island.
Voters were left reeling from a cash-for-passports scheme that the current administration had to abandon amid allegations of corruption last year.
The far-right party came fourth with more than 6.8 percent of the vote, replacing the Movement of Social Democrats (Edek) as the fourth largest party in the Greek Cypriot administered island for the first time in 45 years.
Elam is known to have links with the now illegal neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece, which has seen its leadership placed behind bars.
With its anti-migration platform and hardline nationalist policies, the far-right party has capitalised on increasing apathy towards the country’s established political parties.
The Greek Cypriot administered island is the EU’s most eastern member. In recent years it has become the member state with the highest per-capita of first-time asylum seekers.
In the past, the neo-Nazi Elam party is known for anti-Turkish and anti-Muslim views. In 2019, the party proposed a ban on Muslim women wearing headscarves.
ELAM rejects a long-standing objective to reunite Cyprus along the lines of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation - which has been the position of consecutive Greek Cypriot admissions.
With almost 100 percent of the votes counted, the right-wing Democratic Rally (DYSI) grabbed 27.8 percent of the vote, followed by the leftwing Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), polling at 22.3 percent and the Democratic party (Diko) at 11.3 percent.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey intervened after the island experienced a right-wing military-backed Greek coup which would have seen the islands Turkish minority potentially face ethnic cleansing, discrimination and a loss of political representation.
Countless attempts at mediation have failed to resolve the dispute.