Northern Cyprus presidential election to be held

Citizens of the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will vote today in a presidential election. Negotiations between Greek

Cyprus AP Photo Petros Karadjias

Photo: Petros Karadjias

Citizens of the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will vote today in a presidential election.

Negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, who have been in conflict since 1955, remain deadlocked, and as the peace talks drag on, many in the TRNC are calling for a two-state solution instead of a federation.

In today’s election, the top campaign issue is achieving a peace deal. The main competition is between incumbent Mustafa Akinci, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar of the National Unity Party, and Chairperson Tufan Erhurman of the Republican Turkish Party. Akinci is a strong supporter of a federal accord and opposes Turkey’s involvement in unification. Tatar, on the other hand, is a proponent of a separate state and believes Turkey can help the TRNC achieve sovereignty. Erhuman also opposes a federation.

The TRNC selects its president in a two-round election. Currently, Akinci is the public favourite and is predicted to poll ahead in at least the first round of voting. If Akinci is elected for a second term, the TRNC will likely try again to negotiate with Greek Cypriots to resolve the decades-long conflict. If Tatar or Erhuman are elected, the chances for reunification of the island will decrease significantly.

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