Cyprus: Representation in federal institutions The Legislature

Cyprus Mail, Cyprus
March 25 2004

Representation in federal institutions – The Legislature
By Yiouli Taki

CONSTITUENT state representatives in federal institutions should have
the internal citizenship of the respective constituent state. This is
in line with the provision that political rights in federal elections
will be exercised on the basis of internal citizenship: the people
who will elect the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot
states in federal institutions will have the internal citizenship of
the relevant constituent state.

Internal citizenship is defined on the basis of residence on the date
the Foundation Agreement comes into effect. Neither of the
constituent states will be obliged to grant internal citizenship to
those who will choose to live in their territory but have the
internal citizenship of the other constituent state.

Thus it is expected that the Turkish Cypriot constituent state will
not grant internal citizenship to Greek Cypriots who choose to reside
permanently on its territory, so as to ensure that only Turkish
Cypriots will vote for or be voted as representatives of the Turkish
Cypriot state. In this way, the equal status of the two constituent
states, as specified through their representation on a federal level,
will be translated as political equality between the two communities.

The Legislature: The House of Representatives and the Senate
The two constituent states will be represented in the House in
proportion to their population, though no state will hold less than
25 per cent of the seats. Of the 48 seats, 36 will go to the Greek
Cypriot state and the rest to the Turkish Cypriots. Decisions will be
taken by simple majority.

Representation in the Senate will be based on the political equality
of the two sides; each constituent state will have 24 seats. There
will be two decision-making procedures according to the matter on the

Simple Majority: Standard decisions will be taken by simple majority
of the Senators present and voting, including a quarter of the
senators from each constituent state who are present and voting.

Special Majority: Certain issues will need a special majority of at
least two-fifths (10) of the Senators from each constituent state.
Such issues will include the approval of the federal budget and the
election of the Presidential Council, as well as a series of issues
concerning the vital interests of the two constituent states.

House decisions will need the approval of the two bodies. A special
law will provide for a compromise mechanism between the two bodies.

How are the religious minorities going to be represented on the

The Maronite, Latin and Armenian minorities will be represented by at
least one deputy each. The deputies will be counted amongst the
representatives of the constituent state where the majority of the
members of the respective minority reside.

How are the minority representatives going to be elected?
Members of the relevant minority would have the right to vote for
their deputies irrespective of their internal citizenship.

What is the authority of the Legislature?
The Constitution of the United Republic of Cyprus provides the
following powers for the legislature: 1. It will legislate and make
decisions on issues within its competence 2. It will approve
international agreements that need ratification 3. It will elect and
oversee the Presidential Council 4. It will refer to the Supreme
Court – by special majority – allegations of impeachment regarding
members of the Presidential Council and independent officials for
serious violation of their duties or serious crime. 5. It will adopt
the federal budget.

When will a special majority be needed in decision-making in the

A special majority will be necessary for: 1. Ratification of
international agreements on issues under the legislative authority of
the constituent states. 2. Ratification of conventions and adoption
of laws and regulations concerning airspace, the continental shelf
and territorial waters of the United Republic of Cyprus, including
the economic and border zone. 4. Adoption of laws and regulations
regarding citizenship, immigration, water resources and taxation. 5.
Approval of the federal budget. 6. Election of the Presidential

You have stressed that political equality between the two communities
is protected through a provision in the UN plan that does not oblige
constituent states to provide internal citizenship to citizens from
the other state. Can you explain?

Political rights during federal elections will be exercised on the
basis of the internal constituent state citizenship status. The only
way for the Turkish Cypriot state to secure that its federal
representatives will be Turkish Cypriots is through the provision
stipulating that a constituent state is not obliged to grant Turkish
Cypriot citizenship to Cypriot citizens holding the internal
citizenship status of the Greek Cypriot state who choose to reside
there permanently, after the Foundation Agreement comes into effect.
Consequently, Greek Cypriots who are granted permanent residency in
the Turkish Cypriot state, will continue to have the internal
citizenship of the Greek Cypriot state.

Thus exercising their voting rights at the federal level in the Greek
Cypriot state: they will be able to elect candidates of the Greek
Cypriot state or run for office themselves. This secures Turkish
Cypriot demands since a primary concern of the Turkish Cypriot
community is that of a situation where Greek Cypriots would be
elected as representatives of the Turkish Cypriot state. The equality
of the two constituent states is thus translated into political
equality between the two communities; this would not have been
possible if Greek and Turkish Cypriots could represent the Turkish
Cypriot state at a federal level.