The results of the recent elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) show that “our ties with Ankara, our position on the Cyprus issue and my policy have gained support”, TRNC President Ersin Tatar said.
Tatar, assessing the election, told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Monday that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, voter turnout was around 60 percent. He repeated that about 40,000 of the more than 200,000 voters were abroad.
“My assessment as president is that the elections took place in a truly democratic atmosphere. Everyone, also with the support of the media, had the chance to express their own ideas and arguments.
The ruling National Unity Party (UBP) is leading the snap elections in Turkish Cyprus with 39.54% of the vote in favor, according to preliminary results on Monday.
Unofficial results announced by the Supreme Election Commission (YSK) showed that all votes were counted and UBP received 39.54% of the vote.
The ruling party is followed by the Turkish Republican Party (CTP) with 32.04%, the Democratic Party (DP) with 7.41%, the Renaissance Party (YDP) with 6.39% and the People’s Party (HP ) with 6.68%.
The Communal Democracy Party (TDP), the Communal Liberation Party of the New Forces (TKP-YG) and the Independence Road Party (BY) remained below the 5% threshold, according to the authority electoral.
In the current standings, the UBP gets 24 seats, the CTP 18, the DP three, the HP three and the YDP two in the 50-member parliament.
Compared to the previous election, the UBP increased its number of seats by three, the number of seats for the CTP increased by 50%, while the HP dropped from nine deputies to three deputies.
In his first interview after the elections, UBP President Faiz Sucuoğlu told AA that the elections turned out to be a victory for democracy.
He went on to say that the policies he advocates as President and a Cyprus made up of two separate states living side by side on the basis of sovereign equality as well as the development of good relations with Turkey to strengthen the TRNC were approved by a vote rate of more than 60%.
Tatar said he would entrust Sucuoğlu with the responsibility of forming a government in the coming days.
Stating that he believes the TRNC will overcome the troubled days it is currently facing, with the support of Turkey, Tatar noted that efforts in the economy and other areas will continue successfully with a government model stable that will last five years.
“The current government is a coalition of the National Unity Party and the Democratic Party. The DP raised its votes. It is possible that this government will continue. Sucuoğlu, who will form the government, will decide with its potential partners. A UBP-DP-People’s Party government is also possible. They will have to decide whether or not to include the Rebirth Party, I can’t say anything concrete… The current number of UBP deputies is 24. There are 50 in total. It takes 26 more deputies to establish a quorum in parliament,” Tatar explained.
“UBP governments have always had a good relationship with Turkey. As chairman, I will follow that as well. There are serious problems due to the pandemic and the economic crisis. In order to overcome all these problems, a good relationship with Ankara, an economic program, a protocol and a working environment must be established,” he added.
Political party election campaigns have been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen an upsurge in cases in recent days.
The economy was a key topic in candidate speeches during the TRNC’s early election campaign. Due to the pandemic, political parties presented their vision to voters on health issues as well as future economic goals, which were the main agenda items for all candidates.
Political parties have made considerable efforts to attract public support by offering their views and visions on different issues.
The elections took place a year earlier than planned. Former UBP prime minister Ersan Saner tendered his resignation in October and called for new elections. Sucuoğlu took over on an interim basis.
Cyprus is mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the United Nations to reach a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks from the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to retreat to enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at the annexation of the island by Greece led to the military intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed initiative in 2017 in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration joined the European Union in 2004, the same year the Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end a long-running dispute.