TRNC (North Cyprus) 2010
The unrecognized Turkish Republic of North Cyrpus (TRNC) held a presidential election on April 25, 2010, at the conclusion of the five-year term. In North Cyprus, the President is usually the more powerful figure and is the dominant position in politics. The incumbent President, Mehmet Ali Talat was first elected in 2005.
Political debates in North Cyprus obviously revolve very much around the question of reunification with Cyprus. The National Unity Party (UBP), which has dominated the TRNC’s political life for most of its existence, opposes reunification and supports a two-state solution. The main opposition, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) on the left favours reunification. The UBP and its longtime leader, former President Rauf Denktaş (in power 1975-2005), were quasi-omnipotent in Northern Cypriot politics until Cyprus’ accession to the EU and the continued marginalization of the TRNC led to the victory of the CTP in the 2003 and 2005 legislative elections and Mehmet Ali Talat’s election as President in 2005 following Denktaş’s retirement. However, the lack of progress on the reunification issue since the defeat of the 2004 Annan Plan have probably led to a lower apetite for reunification within the population, and the UBP led by Derviş Eroğlu won the 2009 legislative elections and Eroğlu became Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Derviş Eroğlu was the UBP’s candidate, and received the support of the Democratic Party, which holds 5 seats in the TRNC’s Assembly. Incumbent President Mehmet Ali Talat ran for re-election with the support of the CTP.
Derviş Eroğlu (UBP) 50.38%
Mehmet Ali Talat (CTP) 42.85%
Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu (Ind) 3.81%
Zeki Beşiktepeli (Ind) 1.61%
Mustafa Kemal Tümkan (Ind) 0.79%
Arif Salih Kırdağ (Ind) 0.43%
Ayhan Kaymak (Ind) 0.14%
Eroğlu’s victory marks the end of CTP power in the TRNC, an era which lasted from around 2003 or 2005 until 2009 or 2010. The UBP now controls all levers of power, the only question now being the status of reunification talks. Eroğlu’s victory is unlikely to spell a total end to these talks, but they may slow down or be stalled by the TRNC’s more independent attitude. It will be interesting to see how the likely slowdown of reunification talks will affect politics in Cyprus, where incumbent pro-reunification Communist President Dimitris Christofias was elected in 2008 in a campaign where the issue played a large role and led to the first-round defeat of hardline anti-reunification incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos. Christofias and Talat, both leftists with trade union history, were on good terms, but it remains to be seen if this peaceful attitude can continue in relations between the two warring factions on the island.