On Sunday the 19th of April 2009, around 160,000 voters went to the polls in North Cyprus to elect their chosen government. After nearly 5 years in power, CTP (Republican Turkish Party) were ousted in favour of UBP (National Unity Party).
During the election run up, which happens in North Cyprus with much fanfare and hype, with hire cars being used to drive around every city, town and village, horns blaring and slogans being shouted, UBP had been the main party tipped to topple the current leadership. Mehmet Ali Talat, the current President of TRNC, had a key ally in CTP for the ongoing peace negotiations between the north and south of the island, officially separated by a dividing line since 1974.
UBP gained just over 44% of the vote, whilst CTP only managed to attain around 29%. It would therefore seem that CTP has taken the brunt of mishandling the country’s economy at a time when it required strong leadership and management given the world’s current financial woes. UBP have also gained 26 seats in Parliament meaning that there will be no coalition government which has been the norm in previous leaderships.
UBP, along with its leader Derviş Eroğlu, are known to support a federal state solution to the ‘Cyprus problem’, whereas CTP had been more in favour for a bizonal confederation, and one which had also been agreeable in principle to Greek Cypriots. Peace talks could well be affected by the change in stance from the new government, although Mehmet Ali Talat remains in power until 2010 and he has stated that a new government should not deter the current negotiation process.
So, there you have it, a party returning to power, and one which could see the future of North Cyprus take another interesting turn in its history!