There were mixed outcomes in the elections held elsewhere in the EU yesterday.

Cyprus recorded its lowest election turnout ever.

Polling for the European Parliament attracted less than 60% of the electorate.

The absentee rate of 41.12% was much higher than that for presidential, local or parliamentary elections, which is normally only around 10%.

Voting is compulsory for national elections but not for European ones.

Cyprus first voted in a European election shortly after joining the European Union in 2004, and the turnout then was 72.5%.

Chief returning officer Lazaros Savvides said the most likely reason for the poor showing, on what was a three-day weekend in Cyprus, was voters under 25 staying away from the polls.

Russian groups gain in Latvia

Two parties rooted in Latvia's Russian minority were among the top performers in yesterday's European parliamentary elections in the Baltic state.

An exit poll by the public broadcaster LTV and the Baltic News Service found that the left-leaning opposition movement Harmony Centre had won 20% of the vote, more than double the forecast in pre-election polling.

If confirmed by the final tally, the score would ensure a European parliament seat for Harmony Centre's leader, Alfreds Rubiks.

Mr Rubiks was leader of Latvia before it broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991, and spent time behind bars after independence for trying to overthrow the democratic government.

A separate movement, For Human Rights in United Latvia, scored 13%, again well ahead of its pre-election poll rating.

That would guarantee the re-election of MEP Tatjana Zdanoka, who fought a long drawn out battle in the 1990s to win Latvian citizenship after she was denied it because of her opposition to independence.

Klaus calls election 'unnecessary'

Meanwhile, Czech President Vaclav Klaus questioned the role of the European Parliament yesterday as he cast his ballot in the European election that he had described as 'unnecessary'.

'I would like these elections to help create a European Parliament that will make the next vote more reasonable and meaningful than now,' he said to reporters.

Mr Klaus, who once described himself as a European dissident, said earlier this week that the elections were unnecessary.