By Simon Bahceli
THE Turkish Cypriot side followed Turkey into political turmoil on Wednesday as the ‘TRNC government’ was effectively ousted in a vote of no confidence.
An early election had already been set for July 28, but Wednesday’s vote came as a second blow to the ruling right-wing National Unity Party (UBP), which lost its ‘parliamentary’ majority after eight of its deputies left the party on May 27.
Speaking after the confidence vote, ‘House Speaker’ Hasan Bozer said the ‘government’ had been outvoted by 27 votes to one, and that ‘prime minister’ Irsen Kucuk would be expected to hand his resignation to Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the coming days. Party sources said Kucuk was likely to tender his resignation later Wednesday.
The eight defectors defended their position, saying that if they had not resigned form the party, they would have been expelled.
“Because of this, there was nothing we could do [to prevent the collapse of the government],” said Hasan Tacoy, one of the eight.
The rift between the eight defectors and the main body of the UBP came after an attempt to replace Kucuk as leader with relative moderate Ahmet Kasif. A vote within the party in February narrowly upheld Kucuk’s leadership, but effectively split the party in two. Kasif and his supporters had felt that Kucuk had turned the party into his personal fiefdom.
“The UBP has changed beyond recognition,” Kasif said after deciding to leave the party.
“It is now characterised by oppression, intricacies, games, bribes and nepotism,” he added. Kucuk had also been criticised by the public as being overly keen to carry out economic austerity measures handed down by the Turkish government in Ankara.
An opinion poll carried out in the north last November predicted a close race with the UBP slightly ahead of main opposition left-wing Republican Turkish Party (CTP) on 21 per cent.