Turkish Cypriots have voted for their state
The Turkish Cypriot people spoke laud at the parliamentary elections on Jan. 7 for the defense of their state. It was a clear message that neither would like to compromise from the Turkish Cypriot state, nor from the guarantor status of Turkey and Turkey’s continued military presence in Cyprus.
The participation rate in the election was around 62 percent, very much in line with the routine of the island. Under the provisional results of the election, the majority partner of the ruling coalition the National Unity Party (UBP) received around 36 percent and produced 21 seats in the unicameral 50-seat legislature. That was a great jump from the 27.3 percent vote and 14 seats the party produced in the 2013 elections. The junior partner of the coalition, the Democrat Party (DP) on the other hand, suffered a humiliating defeat as its vote share decreased to 7.9 percent from 23.2 percent in 2013. Likewise, compared to the 12 seats the party produced in 2013, in Sunday’s election it only produced three deputies.
The main opposition Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) performed very badly in the election. While the socialist party had produced 21 seats with 38.3 percent of the vote in 2013 on Sunday, it only received 21.05 percent of the vote and produced 12 seats. The Communal Democratic Party (TDP) of President Mustafa Akıncı produced only three seats with 8.7 percent of the vote. The New Birth Party (YDP) also managed to send two deputies to parliament with 7 percent of the vote.
It is clear that with these results, the Turkish Cypriot people have told politicians they want a coalition government again. While some commentators have already started to speculate that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus might go to early elections as early as March or April this year, it is obvious that this parliamentary arithmetic could produce quite a many probable coalition alternatives. One is of course a two-way coalition government, either between the UBP and one of the other two major parties, though these two parties have already ruled out the possibility of a coalition with the UBP. The other is a three-way coalition between the UBP and the two smaller parties. A last option might be a three-way coalition government by the CTP with the TDP and the HP.
Whatever government formula the political setup will allow, Sunday’s election carried a very important message for the future of the island and the TRNC. The cumulative vote of the center and the center-right parties who defended the consolidation of the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot sovereignty, partnership rights and continued military presence, as well as maintenance of the guarantor status of Turkey, exceeded 70 percent.
After the establishment of the new government, it would not at all have been easier for President Mustafa Akıncı to continue his pro-federation stance while the majority of parliament supported a two-state under the European Union or a loose confederation of two sovereign component states, which over 70 percent of the new parliament supported.
Therefore, whatever the result of the Greek Cypriot election might be, the strong voice of the Turkish Cypriot people opposing a rehash of the Cyprus Republic with some federal components would be an aloof objection.