The social-democratic CTP party’s candidate Sami Ozuslu won a surprise victory in the north’s ‘parliamentary’ by-election on Sunday.

Ozuslu won 44 per cent of the vote, beating conservative UBP candidate Ali Basman, who managed just 38 per cent, into second place. There were 11 other candidates.

As a result, the CTP now has 19 of the 50 ‘members of parliament’ in the north, while the UBP remain on 24, and their coalition partners DP and YDP remain on three and two seats respectively.

The victory is the CTP’s first at a ‘parliamentary’ election since 2013, and the first for the Turkish Cypriot left since Mustafa Akinci won the Turkish Cypriot leadership election in 2015.

While Ozuslu’s victory does not drastically change the north’s political landscape, the result has given the ‘government’ something to think about.

Every voter in the north was eligible to vote in the election, and as such the result could be taken as a rejection of the UBP and of the coalition ‘government’ by large swathes of the population.

Had the UBP won, they would have had an outright majority in the north’s ‘parliament’, but now remain one seat short.

Following his victory, Ozuslu promised to “pave the way for change”. CTP leader Tufan Erhurman also called for the start of “a new era” in Turkish Cypriot politics.

Turnout for the election was the lowest on record at just 30 per cent. This represents the latest in a downward trend of Turkish Cypriot election turnout figures, with last year’s ‘general election’ also seeing the lowest ever turnout for such an election.

‘Prime minister’ Unal Ustel described the low turnout as “the most important message” sent by voters, while both Ozuslu and Erhurman called for political parties to carry out an investigation into decreasing turnout figures.