The System

The Republic of Cyprus has a presidential system of government. The president is elected for five years directly by the people in a secret ballot with universal suffrage. Executive power is exercised by a cabinet of 11 members which is appointed by the president of the Republic. If the president is temporarily absent or impeded, the president of the House of Representatives deputises for him.

Legislative power is exercised by the House of Representatives. The deputies are elected for five years by universal suffrage via a simple proportional representation system. The House has 80 deputies, of whom 56 (70%) are elected by the Greek Community and 24 (30%) by the Turkish Community. Because of the situation which developed after 1963 and the Turkish invasion of 1974, the seats of the Turkish-Cypriot community are vacant.

Justice is administered by the High Court of the Republic, the assize courts and the district courts. The Central Bank of Cyprus is responsible for shaping and implementing the monetary and credit policies of the State. The Central Bank also manages the Republic’s currency reserves, supervises the banks and acts as the government’s banker and financial representative. Under the Constitution, the president of the Republic appoints a number of independent officers of state, such as the Attorney-General (who is the Republic’s legal adviser), the Auditor-General, the Director of the Central Bank and the Commissioner for Administration.

Power at local government level is exercised by municipal and community councils and groupings of communities. There are 33 municipalities, nine of which are in the occupied area, and 485 community councils and groupings of communities, 131 of which are in the occupied area. The municipal councils provide services and have administrative powers in the cities and in two or three large rural areas in which municipalities have been established, and the community councils provide services and have administrative powers in the villages. The councils are independent bodies, and their members are elected by universal suffrage every five years.

Information in Greek and English about the political parties, the Constitution, the legislature and the judicial body, the executive and the ministries can be found on the Republic’s website. Links to all the websites can be found on that site.

Other general information

As a result of the military invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the occupation of 36.2% of the country, the lawful government of the Republic of Cyprus cannot exercise control over the northern part of the country. On the basis of the treaty of accession to the European Union, the implementation of the Community acquis in that zone is suspended pending a settlement of the political problem.

The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. The majority of people speak at least one other language, in most cases English.

On 8 June 2007 the exchange rate of the Cyprus pound against the euro was £1.00 = €1.7144 (€1 = £0.5833). The Cyprus pound joined Exchange Rate Mechanism 2 on 29 April 2005. The central rate was set at €1 = £0.585274, with a fixed range of + or – 15%. Cyprus adopted the euro, the single European currency, on 1 January 2008.

The Republic is obliged to provide representation by a lawyer when a plaintiff or defendant in a court case is unable to afford representation and an application for the appointment of a representative is filed on a legal aid basis (this happens most frequently in criminal cases).

Text last edited on: 12/2007

Source: European Union
© European Communities, 1995-2005
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