Presidential Elections 2023 – Repeat Election: The Chief Returning Officer replied to press questions in the framework of his statement on voter turnout until 3:00 p.m.

The Chief Returning Officer Dr Costas Constantinou, in the framework of his statement on voter turnout until 3:00 p.m., replied to press questions as follows:

Replying to a question on whether there were allegations on voter harassment by phone, the Chief Returning Officer replied affirmatively and added: “We are in contact with the Commissioner for the Protection of Personal Data. The phenomenon is not particularly extensive, but seizing the opportunity, I call on all staff, whose candidates are involved in this election process to bear in mind that the provisions of the legislation must be adhered to both as regards the law on elections as well as the law on the protection of personal data. These data are recorded so that we can next assess them, and, with the cooperation of the Attorney General’s Office, take the appropriate measures. I once again call upon all candidates’ staff to comply so that this election process can be carried out smoothly. I don’t think that there is any need for these phone calls or the harassment, to the extent that it takes place”.

Asked whether posts in the Social Media urging people to vote in favour of one candidate or another, which are increased according to an observation by a journalist, are being prosecuted, Dr Constantinou clarified that “what is being monitored are paid advertisements”.

He explained that “Everyone’s personal posting on social networks is extremely difficult to track on an individual level, since thousands of accounts exist”.

“What the PIO is monitoring and supervising are paid advertisements, listings in any information medium, whether printed, TV medium, radio medium or online”, he said.

Asked whether any problems occurred as regards the election process, he made reference to two cases in which two voters attempted to photograph of a ballot paper- one case in Lefkosia and the other in Larnaka.

He informed that «presiding officers dealt with both cases. Instructions were given to the Police, to the Police Officer on duty at the polling station in question, and he was assigned with the task to investigate the case». Other than these two incidents, nothing else occurred, the Chief Returning Officer added.

Once this election process is concluded, we will deal with all the matters in general, Dr Constantinou noted.

Finally, he said that during his visit at polling stations he observed one or two cases where exit polling companies had their ballot boxes near the exits of polling stations. “They were asked to take the ballot boxes away from the polling stations and place them outside the school entrance’’, he said.

“I have not observed anything else and I have no other information by the Returning Officers on the election process”, the Chief Returning Officer concluded.