12.1 Cyprus is an island situated in the eastern Mediterranean with a population of about 1,170,000. A British Crown Colony from 1925, it achieved independence in 1960. Following an invasion in 1974, approximately one-third of the island remains under Turkish occupation. The Republic is a multi-party democracy with an electoral system based on proportional representation. Under its constitution, the President of the Republic is the head of State and is elected every five years. He appoints the Council of Ministers which is the main executive body of the Republic. The legislative body is the House of Representatives. The Republic became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004 and adopted the Euro as legal tender on 1 January 2008.