Political crisis brewing in north Cyprus

Political crisis brewing in north Cyprus

Very much like the Turkish political landscape in northern Cyprus, around 60 percent of voters prefer to support conservative or liberal candidates in elections, while the remaining 40 percent go to socialist or social democrat candidates. If and when conservatives come up with a joint candidate or when one of the conservative parties manages to marginalize the others, either for mayoral seats or for presidency and even for Parliament, the left cannot have much chance.

There are still almost 14 months before the next presidential elections tentatively scheduled for the last Sunday of April 2015. Already incumbent conservative Derviş Eroğlu has been in efforts to win sufficient support for an easy victory while Mehmet Ali Talat, who lost the presidency to Eroğlu by a few hundred votes in the 2010 vote, has been touring villages, talking with people and trying to make a comeback.

It is too early to say whether the race will be in between the two, but there are people already suggesting that perhaps the younger generation should produce presidential candidates. The socialist Foreign Minister Özdil Nami and liberal Kudret Özersay, the Turkish Cypriot negotiator in the Cyprus talks, are already tipped as probable candidates, though neither of the two have even implied the intention to walk such a road.

The election of Eroğlu in the April 2010 vote became possible when late Rauf Denktaş, though he had a long history of fighting with Eroğlu, decided to support the lesser evil, as he considered Talat a dangerous defeatist who might make incredible compromises with Greek Cypriots. With Denktaş and his son’s Democratic Party (DP) supporting him, Eroğlu won the election with only 50 percent and a few more votes, just enough to get elected in the first round of voting.

Similarly, at the Nicosia mayoral elections in 2010, the leftist candidate lost to the joint candidate of conservatives. In early elections last year, the two main conservative parties ran separately, a socialist became mayor of the Turkish section of the twin-capital city. Now, for the first time in the political history of Turkish Cypriots the National Unity Party (UBP) is no longer the absolute big party of conservatives, the DP of Serdar Denktaş is leading in all polls. Instead of banking on poll results and hoping to win in the big three cities and serve a deadly blow to the UBP, the DP made an election coalition with the UBP and the two parties produced a joint list of candidates.

The socialists, who are the senior partners of the DP in government, are of course furious with the development, believing they might not only lose badly in the upcoming June mayoral elections, but if the conservative alliance is to be endured, it might lose badly once again at the presidential vote next year.

Today (March 7), Prime Minister Özkan Yorgancıoğlu will head a team of the ruling Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) team to the DP headquarters, where the two parties will discuss the future of the government. Already, the DP has said their coalition with the CTP was limited to government and the socialists might terminate partnership with the DP if they are unhappy with a DP-UBP alliance in local polls.

It is a very difficult decision to make for Yorgancıoğlu and his party, as not only is the combined strength of the DP and UBP enough to form a new government, the leftist Democratic Community Party (TDP) has declared it might join a DP-UBP coalition as well…