What now in north Cyprus?
Sunday’s Turkish Cypriot elections produced a rather complicated parliamentary mathematics. Practically, parliamentary mathematics shows that there might be five government formulae. Don’t discard any probability as nothing is impossible in politics.
The one that Ankara and perhaps Cyprus watchers would like to see most is a left-right grand coalition of the socialist Republican Turks Party (CTP) and the center-right National Unity Party (UBP).
A new round of Cyprus direct talks are slated to start in October. Hopefully Greek Cypriots will not plunge into a new economic or whatever crisis and talks will kick off. The format of the new talks might gradually evolve into a multilateral conference as Ankara and Turkish Cypriots wanted for so long and as Nikos Anastasiades hinted in pre-election remarks (that he later withdrew) he would accept. In such a case there will be very serious bargaining and a give and take business. That means if they want to have a deal painful concessions will have to be made by both sides. A left-right grand coalition in northern Nicosia will help the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Islamists in Ankara. UBP alone would not make such compromises; CTP alone would not dare to walk such dangerous roads and should it walk would not be able to sell the product in north Cyprus.
Even if not for success of the Cyprus talks it is still in AKP’s best interest to have a grand coalition in northern Cyprus because implementation of a radical restructuring program – continuing since 2011 – require such a broad political base. The program was devised during CTP’s time in government in 2009. Yet, scared of reactions of labor unions CTP preferred to go to early polls at the time instead of implementing the protocol with Ankara. A left-right grand coalition might help to fully implement and achieve the structural transformation of the Turkish Cypriot economy. At a time when island will be provided with Anatolian life-water through a suspended pipeline, having a strong government would be an added bonus for the economic boom of the north at a time when southern Cyprus is passing through its worst-ever crisis. There might be a real chance at hand to breach the enormous economic-financial disparity between the two halves of Cyprus.
If a CTP-UBP coalition cannot be possible, still a left-right coalition of CTP with the now 12-seated Democrat Party-National Forces might be possible. The only problem was last time the two parties were in government CTP collaborated with Ankara’s AKP to buy out DP and UBP deputies, form a new party and kick out the DP to form a coalition government with that Ankara-engineered party. Would DP forget that? In politics everything is possible, though there is strong non-confidence between CTP-DP leaders.
A conservative coalition of CTP and DP is as well possible as combined strength of the two parties produce a 26-seat majority in the 50-member parliament. Yet, it was the DP that, together with eight deputies who defected from the UBP, pulled down the UBP government and forced early elections. Would the UBP form a coalition with yesterday’s enemy? Particularly if most of the 12-seat DP group consists of UBP defectors, can that be possible? Let’s say not impossible. This last option, however, might complicate the Cyprus talks process as well as north Cyprus-AKP relations as both the UBP and DP have been victims of meddling of AKP in Turkish Cypriot politics.
And one last option might be continuation of the current technocratic government…