World Bulletin / News Desk
Voters in Turkish Cyprus elect a president on Sunday whose main task will be to represent them in reunification talks that are expected to resume on the ethnically divided island next month.
Opinion polls put conservative incumbent Dervis Eroglu in the lead ahead of the six other candidates but he is not expected to win enough votes in the first round, paving the way for a runoff with his nearest rival on April 26.
Only Turkey recognises the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The international community views the Greek Cypriot government in Nicosia as the legitimate government of the whole island.
Turkish Cypriots have become deeply sceptical about the prospects for reunification and so another conservative candidate, Kudret Ozersay, may also do well, eroding support for Eroglu and inadvertently helping one of the candidates more supportive of the talks, political analysts say.
"Presidential elections have always given a clear indication of the Turkish Cypriot community's view on the Cyprus problem. This time however it might be different," said sociologist Kudret Akay.
"In recent years the Turkish Cypriots' attitude has hardened as a result of perceived Greek Cypriot intransigence in negotiations, a view most closely represented by Dervis Eroglu."
"However Eroglu's vote is likely to be significantly eroded by Kudret Ozersay, who to some extent also represents this view," he said, adding that a more pragmatic contender may therefore make it through to the second round.
Ozersay is an academic with years of experience in the stop-go reunification negotiations with the Greek Cypriots. Other leading presidential candidates include leftist Mustafa Akinci and centrist Sibel Siber.Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2015, 10:25