Caretaker coalition in north ahead of early elections

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A caretaker ruling coalition has been formed in the Turkish occupied north with an early general election slotted for 9 January.

Heading the coalition will be the newly elected head of the National Unity Party (UBP), Faiz Sucuoglu, seconded by the Democratic Party (DP).

Faiz Sucuoglu on Friday announced the new ‘cabinet’ after being given the mandate to form a new coalition following his election last week as head of UBP after the previous leader Ersan Saner stepped down.

Sucuoglu’s coalition with DP will remain in power until the elections, expected to take place in early January.

The new ‘cabinet’ was announced after being presented to Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar for approval.

Tahsin Ertugruloglu remains as ‘foreign minister’ while Ali Pilli returns as ‘health minister’ after being removed from the post by former ‘prime minister’ Saner in February.

In October, Turkish Cypriots witnessed their ruling coalition collapse as their constituents abstained from the assembly sessions, creating quorum issues.

This led the leader of the tri-partite coalition UBP-DP-Rebirth Party (YDP), Saner, to tender his resignation to Tatar due to political gridlock.

Turkish Cypriots are heading for an early election after three years.

Saner was to stay on until the elections; however, his political future was shaken after a sex scandal emerged.

The coalition leader was at the centre of a ‘sex tape’ doing the rounds on social media.

The video allegedly shows a married Saner in bed with a woman in her twenties.

He has denied involvement in the ‘sex tape’, claiming he was framed by his fellow UBP member and now head of the coalition Faiz Sucuoglu.

The video was circulated ‘courtesy’ of mafia boss Sedat Peker, targeting Turkish Cypriot politicians.

Elections are set for 9 January, but the coalition will have to pass the annual budget before the end of the year.

With the coalition having a slim majority (27) of the 50 seats in the parliament, and given the rivalry with former coalition head Saner, passing the budget may prove troublesome.

Another UBP member and former head of the coalition Husseyin Ozgurgun, has not attended assembly meetings for a couple of years; he self-exiled to Turkey after a scandal regarding a fake asset and funds declaration.

If the budget is not passed, the elections will have to be brought forward sometime in December.