Posts Tagged ‘bureaucracy’


Legal to vote

December 14, 2011

Village elections are taking place this month and in a village of little more than 100 adults our two votes could be important. Or so claimed the mukhtar of the village some months ago when he asked if we were registered to vote. Ummm, no, never felt the need before, was our answer, and anyway it’s not a straightforward process for us expats. As a man seeking re-election, in turbulent village times, he offered to help. He, he said, would personally deal with all the paperwork and arrange for our voting cards to be issued.

A day or two later he appeared at the gate with a handful of forms to complete and a request to see passports and for a handful of passport-type photos. He took the forms, copies of the passports, the photos and a copy of our house purchase contract and our title deeds, and headed off to the appropriate office.

A day or two later he re-appeared. The office, he said, wants more information. Did we perhaps have our pink/yellow slips handy? We did so copied them both and handed them over.

A week later he was back again. The office wanted to see our yellow/pink forms rather than pink/yellow forms. Did we have those? We didn’t. For a moment he looked deflated. The only other thing they will accept is birth certificates and I know you won’t have those, he said. Hah! There’s a man who doesn’t know our filing system; two minutes later he had two photocopied birth certificates in his hand.

Armed with more paperwork than a competent identify fraudster reasonably needs he headed off down the hill to wherever the voting-card-office was and that was the last we saw of him for several weeks. As the election approached and he didn’t re-appear with the voting cards we decided that either he’d found the process too tiresome to continue or that he’d realised that he didn’t need our votes.

How wrong could we be? Last Sunday morning the phone rang. Were we up and dressed and decent? The mukhtar asked. If so he was outside our gate with the voting cards in hand. The question about us being up fit to receive company was reasonable: we have a reputation for being sleepyheads.

Being suitably attired, Ian headed down to meet him and collect the cards. From the look of sheer delight on the mukhtar’s face we can only assume that locals find the bureaucracy wearing at times too. And this in a week when a piece of research established that Cypriots know that getting things done depends more on who you know rather than being able to meet published criteria.

So, we’re good to vote which puts us a tiny majority compared to other expats. Very few expats go through the process of getting voting cards, though there’s only anecdotal information why. Too difficult, uninterested, too bureaucratic? Who knows.

What we now know is that, even before our voting cards were issued, we unwittingly changed the face of this village election. The mukhtar is standing unopposed: his rival decided not to run when he heard that we were going to be eligible to vote. Since we don’t even know who he is we are baffled, but then that isn’t an entirely unusual state of affairs for us in this village!



We’re back

January 8, 2010

It took 5 hours, there’ll need to be yet another engineer later to carry out an inspection, we didn’t get a new meter but we are re-connected.  Phew!


Electricity angst

January 7, 2010

The man from the electricity board came; the man from the electricity board went again. Apparently the meetings have been scheduled in the wrong order in that the switching of the electricity meter should take place before the inspection of the new electrics.

Yes, these meetings were arranged by the electricity board. Make of that what you will.  Oh, and despite appearing to achieve the sum total of nothing the man was with us until about 11am.

So, tomorrow a different electrical engineer will visit and disconnect the current meter, leaving us without power. Our electrician can then connect the new meter. If the Gods are willing the engineer will then return and reconnect the supply.

Then today’s engineer can return and carry out his inspection.

Now, tomorrow is Friday. And this is a holiday week. And, in these parts, folks like to knock off early for the weekend. If tomorrow’s disconnect/reconnect man decides it’s all taking too long then will he hold off on coming back until Monday? If so we’ll be sitting in the dark all weekend wondering how best to use the BBQ to cook the contents of two freezers to prevent the food spoiling!

The next installment tomorrow – if we have power that is ;-)


101 …

December 10, 2009

… is both the number of blog posts to date and the population of our village once we moved in.

We have been told that moving from double to triple digits changes the status of the village in some bureaucratic sense bringing more money or kudos (and probably paperwork) or something. This may explain why the village mukhtar was so happy to see us, stopping his car in the middle of the road outside the house and welcoming us to his village.

Mukhtar, for those with enquiring minds, is the term given to the head of the village.

Here it is an elected position, and one which brings great pride. Our mukhtar lightly dropped into the conversation one day that his father had held the position many years ago. So far we haven’t established if the current incumbent has a son who might hope to hold the position in turn. In our travels so far we haven’t come across any references to a female mukhtar.

The word itself is Arabic, yet another reminder of what a melting pot this island is, in part due to its position as such an important meeting point for three continents.