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Polling stations for conducting the European Elections 2009 are expected to be set up in Greece, Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, Australia, the USA, Arab countries and in other countries around the world where there are at least 50 voters, Chief of Elections at the Ministry of Interior, Demetris Demetriou has said.

In an interview with CNA, Demetriou said that according to the number of voters who came to Cyprus from abroad for last year’s presidential elections, they are estimated to be about 25,000 to 30,000 voters.

Students in Greece are approximately 13,331, in Britain 6,924, the USA 519, Bulgaria 398 and Hungary 303.

There is also a large number of Cypriots working in Brussels.

In some countries, he said, permits will be necessary to operate polling stations while in countries such as Greece and the UK, other sites apart from the embassies will be required to operate polling stations. “We hope this will be possible, so as to serve more people and limiting the distance they need to travel to the polling stations”, Demetriou said.

In Greece, apart from Athens and Salonica, where the embassy and consulate are situated respectively, there are plans for polling stations to open in Crete and Larissa.

The same will happen in Britain where polling stations will be set up in places owned by Greek Cypriots as well as in Greek orthodox churches.

Demetriou clarified that the number of polling stations will be clear after 2 April, when the application procedure will be completed.

Polling stations abroad are expected to operate the same hours as in Cyprus. There will be a special regulation for countries where there is a time difference, such as the USA and Australia.

Existing personnel in embassies will be working on the day of the European Elections under the supervision of an acting head of polling station who will receive special training by the Election Office in Cyprus.

The sorting and counting of the votes will be underway as soon as the elections end. According to Demetriou, it is expected that counting will take place at each polling station.

A Returning Officer will be appointed for the work which is needed to be done abroad.

Demetriou said that the financial cost of setting up polling stations abroad is not estimated to be high.

Financial Mirror, February 23, 2009 - By Maria Antouna (CNA)
|||Cyprus Polling stations to operate abroad for European Elections 2009
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