On 25 May 2014 Cyprus participated for the third time in the elections for the Members of the European Parliament. A recurrent pattern in all three election procedures was the rising rate of abstention. Abstention in the 2004 European elections reached 27.5% and the citizens’ participation was 72.5%. The corresponding abstention rate in 2009 climbed to 40.6% and participation decreased to 59.4%. In the May 2014 elections the abstention rate reached 56.03%, a record for Cyprus, and the citizens’ participation decreased further to 43.97%.
Taking into account the tendency of citizens, at European level, to distance themselves from the EU institutions, mainly due to the ongoing economic crisis, the increased abstention in the May 2014 elections raises concerns. Therefore, the active participation of citizens in the election process is one of the major challenges faced not only by Cyprus but also the EU at large.