Turkish Cypriot leader ahead after first round of vote
Turkish Cypriot President and candidate for the presidential elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Derviş Eroğlu (L) delivers a speech during a campaign rally on April 17, 2015 in the northern part of Nicosia. AFP PHOTO / FLORIAN CHOBLETIncumbent Derviş Eroğlu will face off against independent Mustafa Akıncı in a second round of voting for the Turkish Cypriot leadership after a close first round, official figures showed April 19.
Turkish Cypriots are voting for a leader who will head peace talks with the Greek Cypriots on the divided east Mediterranean island.
With all ballot papers counted after April 19’s first round, Eroğlu, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), leads with 28.2 percent of votes cast, with Akinci chasing close behind at 26.9 percent.
Turnout was 62.3 percent, official figures showed.
None of the seven candidates secured the required 50 percent of the vote to win outright, as expected.
Third was the sole woman candidate, Sibel Siber, the head of parliament and a former prime minister. She won 22.5 percent of votes cast.
he race is now between Eroğlu, and Akıncı, a former mayor of northern Nicosia.
“We are going to live in peace,” said an optimistic Akıncı, whose symbol is an olive branch, after the count.
“Past generations suffered a lot. People from both communities have shared suffering,” he said.
About 176,000 people are eligible to vote in the TRNC.
Polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0500 GMT) and closed 10 hours later.
“I voted for someone who can resolve the problem” of the four-decade division of Cyprus, said Hussein Ors, a 57-year-old civil servant emerging from a polling station in Nicosia.
“We hope every time but always end up being disappointed,” said another voter, Hülya Tozake, also 57, blaming both the Greek Cypriot side and Ankara.
Many Turkish Cypriots have lost faith in their leaders’ ability to reach a deal and open the TRNC to the rest of the world, according to Agence France-Presse.
“People have been born, lived, had children and families, and died waiting for them to resolve something,” said human rights lawyer Ermine Çolak.