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Iran Press TV

Incumbent president, Turkey-backed premier to vie in Northern Cyprus runoff

Iran Press TV

Monday, 12 October 2020 7:08 AM

Incumbent President Mustafa Akinci and Ankara-backed Prime Minister Ersin Tatar will go to a presidential run-off in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus following an election Sunday.

Northern Cyprus will hold a runoff to select a president as no one of the 11 candidates who contested in Sunday's vote won a clear majority.

According to the election council, Tartar won 32 percent of the Sunday's elections ahead of Akinci, a supporter of the reunification of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, who netted almost 30 percent. The two will compete in a runoff on October 18.

Akinci is tipped to overcome his 60-year-old challenger Tartar, who supports separate sovereign administrations in Cyprus, with the backing of Tufan Erhurman who won 21 percent in the vote.

"Akinci will probably win the second round with more than 55 percent," Mine Yucel, the head of Prologue Consulting which specializes in polling, said.

The presidential vote in the breakaway Northern Cyprus was held amid precautions against the spread of the new coronavirus.

It also took place three days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced alongside Tatar the partial reopening of Varosha, a beachfront resort abandoned for 46 years.

The move drew condemnation from Akinci and other candidates, who saw it as Turkish interference in the election, and sparked protests in the majority Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus.

It was also decried by the Republic of Cyprus, the European Union and the United Nations.

The island has been divided into Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern and Greek Cypriot-controlled southern territories since a brief war in 1974, which saw Turkey intervene militarily in response to a military coup backed by Athens to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Greek Cypriots run the island's internationally recognized government, while Turkish Cypriots have a breakaway state in the north and say offshore resources belong to them too.

The latest United Nations-backed peace negotiations failed in 2017 and there has been no progress in talks since.

The election may also influence talks between Turkey and Greece over their contested maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey and Greece, both of them NATO members, have been at loggerheads over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

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