Voter apathy and limited opportunities for political campaigning for today’s General Elections in North Cyprus is expected to influence turnout at the polling stations, a study by Professor Ahmet Sözen and Devrim Şahin, both of the Eastern Mediterranean University, has predicted.
The study published by the Italian Institute for the Study of International Politics writes that anxieties regarding finances, health and security have haunted TRNC citizens and there is much less optimism regarding any positive influence any government will have on their welfare which currently is closely linked to that of Turkey.
There has also been the accusation of vote-rigging in the last presidential election held in October 2020, the study says, when the Turkish government explicitly intervened against Mustafa Akıncı, the former President of the TRNC, who strongly supports a federal solution to the Cyprus problem. The incumbent President Ersin Tatar and his party (UBP) have declared that negotiations will not begin until the TRNC is recognised as an equal, sovereign and independent state. Talks for reunification under a federal roof have failed for the past fifty years, he has said.
Meanwhile, there have been calls for a boycott of the elections made by the United Cyprus Party (BKP) and then by the New Cyprus Party (YKP), who say that past intervention in the elections have rendered them meaningless.
At the moment, Turkey is too preoccupied struggling with it own problems such as the devalued Turkish lira, rising inflation and unemployment.
Professor Sözen believes that no interventions will be required this time as he predicts low voter turnout.
Most of the polls show the National Unity Party (UBP), which is very closely aligned to the Turkish government, will keep the greatest number of seats in the Assembly, although Sözen does not predict an absolute majority for the party this time. Additionally, the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which supports the bi-communal and bizonal federal solution while maintaining positive dialogue with Turkey, is expected to remain in second place.
Ahmet Sözen is professor of International Relations. He is the Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations as well as the Founding Director of the think tank Cyprus Policy Centre at Eastern Mediterranean University (Famagusta, Northern Cyprus).
Devrim Şahin is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science and International Relations as well as the research assistant in Cyprus Policy Centre at Eastern Mediterranean University (Famagusta, Northern Cyprus).