Freedom in the World
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Complaints against the police, especially for corrupt activities and abuse of detainees, made headlines in Cyprus in 2009. Meanwhile, in November, police rescued 110 Romanian workers from a camp where they were allegedly being held and forced to work without pay.
In parliamentary elections held in the south in 2006, the Democratic Party (DIKO) won 11 seats, while the Democratic Rally (DISY) and Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL), a communist party, each took 18 seats; three other parties captured the remaining 9 seats. The 2004 referendum and the prospects for reunification were major campaign issues, and the results were considered a signal of support for President Tassos Papadopoulos of DIKO and his rejection of the UN plan. However, this sentiment was reversed in the 2008 presidential election, when AKEL leader Demetris Christofias won 53 percent of the runoff vote, making him the only communist head of state in Europe. His cabinet includes ministers from DIKO as well as the Movement for Social Democrats (EDEK). Christofias’s election paved the way for new reunification talks, and he has continued to meet with the Northern Cypriot leader regularly.
Cyprus is an electoral democracy. Suffrage is universal, and elections are free and fair. The 1960 constitution established an ethnically representative system designed to protect the interests of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots; the Greek Cypriots maintain that the constitution still applies to the entire island.
The numerical ratings and status listed above do not reflect conditions in Northern Cyprus, which is examined in a separate report.