Ersin Tatar elected new Turkish Cypriot leader

Right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar has won a leadership runoff vote in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

With all of the ballots counted, the Ankara-backed Tatar secured 51.74 percent of the vote on Sunday, ahead of the incumbent Mustafa Akinci, at 48.26 percent, according to official media.

Tatar, who favours stronger ties with Turkey, had won 32.5 percent of the vote in last week’s first round, with Akinci closely following with 29.84 percent.

The TRNC is recognised as an independent state only by Turkey. Other countries consider it part of Cyprus. The island’s internationally-recognised government has its seat in the Greek Cypriot south and is a member of the European Union.

Cyprus has effectively been partitioned since 1974 when Turkish troops seized its northern third in the wake of an Athens-backed coup by Greek Cypriots seeking union with Greece.

Akinci, 72, supports the long-standing, United Nations-backed efforts to reunite the island as a “bizonal, bicommunal federation” after the successful conclusion of negotiations, while Tatar, 60, backs separate sovereign administrations.

More to follow.

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