The Republic of Cyprus has a unitary presidential system with the president who is the head of state and government. Cyprus exists as a multi-party democracy. After gaining independence from the British in 1960, Cyprus became a unitary republic with representatives from the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. However, the 1974 coup by the Greek military junta led to the division of Cyprus into Greek and Turkish factions. The Turkish Cypriots do not participate in the government with their assigned legislative seats remaining vacant. Currently, international bodies recognize the Republic of Cyprus (2/3 of the island) as the official government of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots remain as the minority with control of 1/3 of Cyprus. The self-declared republic of northern Cyprus is a semi-presidential democracy.
The constitution of Cyprus establishes a unitary executive with both a Turkish president and Greek Cypriot vice president. Currently the executive is made up of the president and a Council of Minister while the vice president's seat remains vacant. The president is the head of government, head of state and the head of the executive. The president is elected for a five-year term through a two-round system where the candidate with the absolute majority wins. In the Turkish Republic, the president and the prime minister share the executive power. The Turkish republic of northern Cyprus held its first elections in 1985.
Cyprus has a unicameral parliamentary system with the House of Representatives exercising legislative power in the country. Based on the 1960 constitution, the legislature has 80 seats out of which 24 are assigned to the Turkish Cypriots while the Greek Cypriots hold the remaining 56. Also represented in the house are observers of the Maronite, Armenian, and Latin minorities. Since 1964, the Turkish seats have remained vacant. Elections for the house of representative members are conducted every five years through a preferential and direct proportion vote system under the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish faction elects members of their Cumhuriyet Meclisi (Assembly of the Republic) through a proportional vote system for five-year terms.
The judiciary is the supreme legal government branch based on a mixed legal system. The legal system consists of aspects drawn from the English common law, civil law and some borrowed aspects of the Greek Orthodox religion. The Supreme Court is the highest court in Cyprus with 13 judges. In the Turkish republic of northern Cyprus, the highest court is the Supreme Court and has eight judges. In the Republic of Cyprus, the president elects the members of the Supreme Court through recommendations from the existing Supreme Court judges to serve for an unlimited term. The judiciary is concerned with solving legal disputes in the country and exists independently from the executive and legislature.
The Republic of Cyprus is the officially recognized government of Cyprus. International bodies and foreign countries have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cyprus, which is a member of several international bodies such as the European Union, the United Nations, the world trade organization, and the world health organization. Turkey with whom she has diplomatic relations officially recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state.
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