Friday, May 20

Northern Cyprus: the nationalist right in power wins the legislative elections

The nationalist right-wing party UBP has won the early legislative elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Ankara, according to provisional official results released on Monday.

After the opening of all the ballot boxes, the National Unity Party of Cypriot-Turkish President Ersin Tatar obtains 39.54% of the vote and strengthens its presence in the RTCN parliament by winning 24 seats out of 50.

As in 2018, the UBP, a pro-Ankara party, will however have to form a coalition to govern.

The Turkish Republican Party (CTP, left) came second with 32.04% of the vote and won 18 seats, according to the Supreme Electoral Commission (YSK).

– “Fix the economy” –

“We will first fix the economy, that will be our first mission,” UBP general secretary and current RTCN prime minister Faiz Sucuoglu said on Sunday evening after an election dominated by the economic crisis. strikes this self-proclaimed republic under Turkish infusion.

“People are depressed because the cost of living is too high. I hope those who will be elected will work effectively in parliament for the good of the people,” 72-year-old retired Dervis Dizliklioglu told AFP on Sunday morning. one of some 204,000 voters who were called to ballot in the northern third of the divided Mediterranean island, occupied by Ankara.

The fall of the Turkish lira, which saw its value melt by 44% against the dollar in 2021, resulted in TRNC in a spectacular surge in prices, inflation having exceeded 46% over one year in December.

“The election campaign did not generate as much energy and enthusiasm as in previous elections in Northern Cyprus, with citizens mostly concerned about their health, safety and living conditions,” said political scientists Ahmet Sözen and Devrim Sahin in a note published by Italian think tank ISPI.

– “Nothing will change” –

During the 2020 presidential election in the TRNC, narrowly won by the nationalist Ersin Tatar, a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, against the outgoing Mustafa Akinci, a supporter of the reunification of the island in the form of a federal state, Mr. Erdogan had been accused of interference.

For this election, Turkey will “not need to play an active role to change the course of this election”, judged the two political scientists before the vote.

The UBP, in favor of a two-state solution, was in fact favored by several polls, ahead of the CTP, in favor of a settlement with the Greek Cypriots.

The debate on the resolution of the Cyprus conflict did not emerge during the campaign, but part of the leftist forces in favor of a federal solution had called for a boycott of the election, the United Cyprus Party (BKP) considering in particular that ” nothing will change” until the Turkish-Cypriot community is “liberated from the yoke of Ankara”.

Since the invasion of northern Cyprus by the Turkish army in 1974 in response to a coup d’etat by Cypriot-Greek nationalists who wanted to attach the Mediterranean island to Greece, the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the EU since 2004, is divided into two. The Cypriot government exercises its authority only over the southern part of the island, inhabited mainly by Greek Cypriots.

The northern part, where mainly Turkish Cypriots and settlers live, was self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, and its authorities are recognized only by Ankara.

Negotiations on a settlement of the conflict have been stalled since 2017. In April 2021, an attempt to relaunch talks organized by the UN, which controls a buffer zone between the two parts of the island, ended in a failure.

In 2004, a UN plan intended to reunify the island was submitted to a referendum. Approved by almost 65% by the Cypriot-Turkish people, the agreement had been rejected by more than 75% by the Cypriot-Greeks in the South.

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