NICOSIA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus's traditional political parties took a beating in Sunday's parliamentary elections, losing ground to the benefit of new political parties, according to final election results on Monday.
"The electoral results herald a new political era for Cyprus. New small parties seem to be here to stay and will be exerting continuous pressure on traditional parties, which may find it difficult to win back their voters," said Yiannis Mavris, an electoral expert hired by Cypriot state-run television to analyze results.
The ruling center-right DISY party polled 30.69 percent, losing 3.7 percent relative to the 2011 vote. The party lost over 21,000 voters, paying the price for an austerity program it introduced to bring the economy back to life after the 2013 near meltdown.
DISY won 18 seats in the House of Representatives, two less than before.
Opposition leftist AKEL party suffered the biggest losses, polling 25.67 percent, a loss of 7.1 percent, as voters punished it for bringing about the economic crisis when in government from 2008 to 2013.
AKEL received 32,193 fewer votes than in 2011, losing almost one in four of its voters. The party will be represented by 16 deputies in parliament, after losing three seats.
Center DIKO party suffered the fewest losses and also managed to keep all nine of its seats in parliament, thanks to the complicated allocation system. It polled 14.49 percent of the vote, losing 1.3 percent. In terms of votes, it lost 8,306 voters compared to the 2011 election.
Socialist EDEK party polled just 6.18 percent, a loss of 2.8 percent, after a protracted internal party feud.
EDEK lost 11,862 voters and elected three deputies, two less than before.
Mavris said these parties also had to count as part of their losses an unprecedented 33.26 percent abstention, which analysts expect to become a feature of future elections.
"The traditional parties seem to have passed their peak. It will take a big effort and really innovative policies to attract their voters back," Mavris said.
On the winners' side, the most striking element to attract international attention was the entry into parliament for the first time of the National People's Front (ELAM), a far-right group.
ELAM just beat a 3.6-percent electoral threshold by gaining 3.71 percent of the vote, electing two deputies.
Other protest parties which benefited from the dissatisfaction of voters were the Citizens Alliance, which polled 6.01 percent, the Solidarity Movement, with 5.24 percent, and the Ecologists (Greens) with 4.81 percent of the vote.
Each one of the three parties elected three deputies.
The United Nations, which brokers negotiations for a solution to reunify Cyprus, is closely watching the results of the elections for possible effects on the outcome of planned plebiscites on a solution.
DISY and AKEL are the only parties that officially support a federal solution providing for power sharing between Greek and Turkish Cypriots of the eastern Mediterranean island.
The two parties saw their combined popular support contract from 66.88 percent to 56.36 percent.
Analysts are undecided on whether voters were influenced by the stance of the parties on a Cyprus solution.