Dr. Kypros Chrysostomides Discusses the People of the R.O. Cyprus

The following is an open letter from Dr. Kypros Chrysostomides, managing partner of Chrysostomides & Co.

The constitutional structure of 1960 was exposed to the accusation that it did not emanate from the Cyprus people and therefore lacked popular participation, and that the right to self-determination was not accorded to the Cyprus people.

The implementation, however, of the right to self-determination in the context of decolonisation has its peculiarities under international law and the whole process of decolonisation is considered as an exercise of this right. The statement of the British
Prime Minister in 1960 in relation to Cyprus, that independence was the result of recognition “of the right of the people of Cyprus to an independent status in the world” is indicative.

This also makes any subsequent assertions by the Turkish side for separate self-determination as entirely illegal and irrational.

The actual participation of the people of Cyprus was manifested in the presidential elections on the 13th of December, 1959, in which 91% of the registered voters of the Greek-Cypriot Community took part, as well as in the unopposed election of the Vice-President
on the 3rd of December, 1959 — that is, before the Constitution was officially adopted. The second popular participation took place in the parliamentary elections that followed, on the 31st of July, 1960. These constitute, in my view, the effective exercise of the right to self-determination, especially since this will was expressed prior to the 16th of August, 1960.

There are a number of international precedents to this effect.

Another clear confirmation of this position is Article 63 of the Constitution, which regularises the right to vote, and states that, “… every citizen of the Republic … shall have the right to be registered as an elector…” This Article determines the basic definition of
“people” in the strict sense of the word, that is, the total number of registered voters, and stipulates that only if one is a citizen of the Republic can he or she be included in the electoral rolls of each community.

Consequently, communities are the “species” which presuppose the existence of the “people” as a “genus” and exist only within the “people”. Similarly the same is true in relation to the concepts “member of a community” and “citizen of the Republic.”

Hence all citizens form the Cyprus “people” stricto sensu and the same are the carriers of the internal sovereignty of the State (Art. 2 of the Cyprus Constitution).

In this sense, the Republic of Cyprus is the successor state-structure of the previous “sovereignty”, that of Britain, in relation to its entire territory and its entire population as defined in the 1960 arrangements.

Source: Chrysostomides & Co