Ethnically Turkish Northern Cyprus, only recognised internationally by Turkey, will hold parliamentary elections today. The results could impact prospects for reunification with the Greek south.
Prime Minister Huseiyn Ozgurgun’s centre-right National Unity Party is expected to secure the most votes, though the make-up of a potential governing coalition is unclear—up to six parties could win seats. The Peoples’ Party, a new centrist outfit campaigning on change and transparency, is gaining ground as suspicions cloud the origins of Ozgurgun’s personal wealth; they could prove the kingmakers.
International observers will be looking for whether the new parliament will be supportive of centre-left President Mustafa Akinci’s efforts to negotiate a peaceful reunification of Cyprus after talks collapsed in July. A strong showing for PM Ozgurgun, already resistant to Akinci’s unity push, could snuff out prospects for further negotiations.
Regardless of the result, don’t expect reunification in the near future. Mr Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, have lost will and popular credibility following last year’s failed talks. While there will be another chance for game-changing developments when Mr Anastasiades faces re-election on January 28, Cyprus will remain stable, but divided, for now.
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Nicholas is an Italian politics aficionado. Nick brings his knowledge of southern Europe to bear in The Daily Brief team, where he serves as a senior analyst and editor.