Cyprus Mail

‘51% chance’ of elections in north within a year

File photo: Erhan Arikli

There is a “51 per cent chance” of ‘parliamentary’ elections taking place in the north within the next year, ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli said on Friday.

Speaking to Kibris Postasi TV, he said he “cannot say with certainty” that the current three-party ruling coalition, which consists of his party the YDP as well as the UBP and the DP, “will last until 2027”, the latest possible date for new ‘parliamentary’ elections.

The current three-party ruling coalition was formed in February 2022, after no party won an absolute majority in that January’s ‘parliamentary’ election.

The UBP, the north’s largest party, won 24 of 50 seats, while the DP won three seats and the YDP won two seats, giving the ruling coalition an effective ‘parliamentary’ majority of eight.

The UBP then survived a civil war of its own during the spring of 2022, with party leader Faiz Sucuoglu being dethroned as ‘prime minister’ in May after attempts to sack his ‘finance minister’ Sunat Atun led to the whole ‘government’ being brought down.

Unal Ustel then replaced him and has led the coalition ever since, though intra-party issues have since spread to the UBP’s two coalition partners.

Erhan Arikli will face a challenge for the leadership of the YDP on April 28, with the party’s other ‘MP’ Talip Atalay running against him at the party’s forthcoming conference.

Arikli and Atalay have been engaged in a bitter war of words since February when Atalay announced his candidacy in February. While Atalay insists he would not withdraw from the coalition should he win the party’s leadership, his palatability to the coalition partners is less than certain.

Meanwhile, the DP’s party congress voted to leave the coalition earlier this month, but the party’s leadership elected to suspend the decision’s application until further notice. This in itself has created disquiet in the party, with members’ confidence in the party’s leadership wavering and some in open revolt.

With Ustel himself set to face a leadership challenge at the UBP’s party conference in September, the ground on which the north’s ‘government’ stands appears to seem ever more shaky.

The next ‘parliamentary’ election in the north can be held no later than February 2027, though no ‘parliament’ has run to term since the 1998-2003 ‘parliament’, when Dervish Eroglu was ‘prime minister’ for the second of three separate terms.

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