Cyprus April 24, 2004

Theme/ Question

Under the U.N. plan, the Greek and Turkish Cypriots would have each retained autonomy over most of their affairs under a loose federal system. Turkish Cypriot returned land in exchange for power-sharing. The question was “Do you approve the Foundation Agreement with all its Annexes, as well as the constitution of the Greek Cypriot/Turkish Cypriot State and the provisions as to the laws to be in force, to bring into being a new state of affairs in which Cyprus joins the European Union united? “

Eligibility to vote and electoral design

Voting rights were determined by the communities. Greek Cypriots voted in the south (including those living in the north-the ‘enclaved’) while Turkish Cypriots and settlers voted in the north. Turkish Cypriots living in the south were not allowed to vote in the north. For ratification a double majority was required by both communities. 

Supporters vs. Opponents

Tassos Papadopoulos, the Cypriot President, rejected the plan in a controversial   televised speech on April 7, 2004. Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktash also opposed the plan, which he said would lead to Greek Cypriot dominance. Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat backed the plan. Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis endorsed the U.N. plan, reportedly after being pressed to do so by U.S. President Bush.

Outcome

The plan was rejected by 76% of Greek Cypriots, while 65% of Turkish Cypriots voted in their own referendum to approve it. About 90% of the 480,000 registered Greek Cypriot voters turned out, as did 75% of the 143,000 Turkish Cypriot voters.

Other relevant information

Greek Cypriot voters rejected the plan hoping for an improved settlement after accession to the EU.  As a result, reunification did not take place. The following month, Cyprus formally joined the EU. However, the benefits of EU membership applied primarily to the Greek portion of the island

 

Sources:
Facts on File World News Digest, <http://www.2facts.com>.
Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Reports
Lexis/Nexis & Factiva
Interviews with Policymakers

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Referendums in Peace Processes Dataset, Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/ReferendumsinPeaceProcesses/#d.en.173183)