The centre-left Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP), the leading opposition party for most of the past four years, has won snap elections in the Turkish Cypriot community, preliminary figures suggest. It won a clear, 11 percentage point victory, but fell four seats short of winning a majority in the 50-member parliament of the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The CTP had been in opposition until mid-June, when the National Unity Party (UBP) four-year rule was ended by an internal split. The CTP then formed a caretaker government under Sibel Siber, the first female head of government in the Turkish-occupied northern half of Cyprus.
Siber and her party’s leader Özkan Yorgancıoğlu now face a choice of coalition. The CTP could choose to join forces again with the Democrats Party-Nationalist Powers (DP-UG), the largest of its two current partners in the interim government. The Democrats came third, with 23% of the vote and 12 seats. Together, the centre-right DP and the CTP, which gained 38% of the vote and 21 seats, would have a commanding majority. The smallest party in the outgoing stop-gap administration, the centre-left Communal Democracy Party, won three seats and 7% of the popular vote.
The alternative for the CTP is a grand coalition with the conservative UBP, whose 27% of the vote was enough to give it 14 seats. Mete Hatay of the Peace Research Institute Oslo says one faction in the CTP would support an alliance with the UBP, in deference to the perceived preference of Turkey.
Turkey is expected to have a significant behind-the-scenes influence on negotiations, but, like the Turkish Cypriot parties, it will also have to weigh up the public mood carefully.