The concept of second-order national elections has generated a rich literature, but its universality, in particular its predominance in contexts affected by shocks, has not been sufficiently studied. The 2014 election to the European Parliament in the Republic of Cyprus, taking place one year after an European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout, could be classified as one of the most puzzling contests in the history of second-order elections. The incumbent party, Democratic Rally (DISY), was not punished, despite the harsh economic environment in the country, while protest voting affected the opposition more. Abstention was exceptional, indicating a delegitimisation of the political system. Moreover, the micro-level analysis reveals that the decision to vote or abstain was driven by attitudes towards both domestic institutions on the one hand and European/international institutions on the other.