Presidential Elections 2023 – The Chief Returning Officer replied
to questions from reporters following his statement on the resumption
of voting at 1 p.m.
The Chief Returning Officer, Dr Costas Constantinou, replied to press questions after his statement on the resumption of voting at 1 p.m.
Asked by a journalist whether anything remarkable has occurred, he said that the process is running very smoothly, adding that the weather conditions have improved, which seems to make it easier for voters to go to the polling stations.
He said that he has visited a large number of polling stations in Lefkosia and he has a personal view of what is happening.
"Everything is running very smoothly and I think that the electoral process will continue to run smoothly so that at 6 p.m. the ballot boxes can close, and we will have the results and be able to inform the public and the candidates of the verdict of the people, as soon as possible", the Chief Returning Officer said.
Asked whether he is satisfied with the increased voter turnout, the Chief Returning Officer replied affirmatively, adding that his satisfaction also has to do with the fact that "the electoral process is running smoothly and that the weather and thus our ability to manage the situation has improved ". "Any minor problems are being resolved and the staff of the Returning Officers are working in this direction", added Dr Constantinou.
Replying to another question in relation to reports that two ballots with pre-filled selection signs were given at a polling station in Kyperounda, Dr Constantinou noted that he has contacted the Returning Officer and it does not appear that such a complaint has been made. "I understand that if someone exits the polling station and makes any allegations, this should not be recycled creating thus a false impression," the Chief Returning Officer underlined.
He further informed that "even if a voter enters the polling station and changes his/her mind or makes a mistake, he/she has the right to go out and ask the Presiding Officer to replace his/her ballot. Therefore, even in this case there are clear instructions, so that the ballot that the voters will cast in the ballot box, represents their own verdict".
As stated by the Chief Returning Officer, there was no complaint regarding messages from campaigners or parties.
He also noted that he has assigned the Press and Information Office with the task of monitoring the Social Media, to ensure that the provisions of the legislation were complied with. "So far there is no indication that there’s anything going on, at least to such an extent as to cause concern," he said.
Asked to comment on a statement by a journalist that parties and candidates have complied with the legislation and the instructions, the Chief Returning Officer stated that "where we observe some deviations, recommendations are made immediately".
"We are in close contact with the representatives of the candidates. We have a very good cooperation, and where there are problems, the staff of the Chief Returning Officer’s Office communicates with them, so that within the framework of cooperation, any problems or misinterpretations, regarding the provisions of the legislation, are explained and the problems are resolved immediately," he said.
Finally, replying to a question as to whether there were reports of taking photos of ballots, he responded by referring to his previous statements, pointing out that the instructions given to the Presiding Officers were clear.
"The use of a mobile phone is prohibited inside the polling station and obviously it is also prohibited to photograph a ballot paper. This constitutes a criminal offence. Therefore, when this is noticed, the Presiding Officer acts immediately and at the same time the police officer on duty at the polling station deals with the matter", the Chief Returning Officer concluded.