Turkish Cypriot coalition could take some time

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Turkish Cypriots go the polls on Sunday for early parliamentary elections. But while the results will come out very quickly–as soon as Sunday night–the formation of a coalition will take rather longer.

The proportional representation voting system means that parliamentary arithmetic will have a strong influence on how stable the coalition will be. A too-small majority, which quickly turned into a minority, was one of the main reasons why the coalition collapsed last time.

Polls conducted by KADEM Cyprus Social Research at the end of January point to the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) led by Mehmet Ali Talat gaining 36% of the vote, or 20 of the 50 total seats.

The National Unity Party (UBP), led Dervish Eroglu and aligned with Dentkash senior, is expected to gain 32% of the vote and thereby retain its 18 seats.

Talat will therefore need another 6 seats in order to hold a majority in the assembly, but he will struggle to find this.

According to the polls, the Democrat Party (DP), led by Serdar Denktash, and the Peace and Democracy Movement (BDH) led by Mustafa Akinci, will just get 5 seats each, leading to the same deadlock as last time.

One way out of the deadlock would be a coalition that included both the DP and the BDH. So far, these two parties have been unwilling to sit together in one coalition.

An additional wild card this time is the upcoming presidential elections in April, where Talat is expected to stand and to win.

Serdar is known to be after the prime ministerial post once Talat goes, but as the leader of a party with only perhaps 5 seats, this might not go down so well with other members of Talat’s party.

One thing we can be sure of. There will be no real policy moves before all this is sorted out.

Fiona Mullen