Premier Tatar wins presidential runoff in N.Cyprus

National Unity Party candidate gets 51.69% of total votes to defeat incumbent president, according to unofficial results

Muhammet Ikbal Arslan, Mehmet Sah Yilmaz, and Murat Ozgur Guvendik   | 18.10.2020
Premier Tatar wins presidential runoff in N.Cyprus

LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus /ANKARA

Prime Minister Ersin Tatar won Sunday's presidential runoff in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with 51.69% of the votes, unofficial results showed.

According to Turkish News Agency-Cyprus (TAK), the Supreme Committee of Election issued a written statement on the unofficial results, which said that Tatar, the presidential candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP), won the second round of the public vote by receiving 67,322 of valid votes.

Incumbent Mustafa Akinci, who run independent, bagged 62,910 votes for 48.31%.

It also said that the turnout was 67.29% in the second round and 133,931 voters out of over 199,000 registered voters cast ballots in 738 ballot boxes.

A total of 130,232 of the ballots were valid, while 3,699 of them were deemed invalid for not complying with the rules.

The voting ended at 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT) and the official figures are expected to be announced later tonight.

Following the announcement of the unofficial results, Tatar thanked the nation and said the important thing is to carry the country to "good days" in unity.

"Turkish Cypriots deserve the best of everything. I will keep my promise. I will be the president of everyone," he pledged.

Thanking Turkey for its help in overcoming economic difficulties in the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Tatar said he is proud to be together with the Republic of Turkey, which always stands next to the Turkish Cypriot people.

"I once again would like to announce to the world that in line with the confirmation I received from the nation, I will look after our own lands, our own state and the guarantor position of our Turkey," he said.

"I want to tell the whole world from here that Turkish Cypriots exist, they will exist and they will cry out their sovereignty to the whole world," he stressed.

Tatar also said that the TRNC and Turkey have "unbreakable ties."

"Yes, we are in for an agreement on Cyprus, but the Turkish Cypriot nation will accept the conditions of this agreement with their own will," he said, sending a message to the Greek Cyprus administration.

Who is Ersin Tatar?

Tatar was born in Lefkosa in 1960. He attended high school in the UK and graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Cambridge University in 1982.

Tatar, who worked at the UK office of the Price Waterhouse audit firm between 1982-1991, received the title of chartered accountant.

Until he founded the first private TV channel, Kanal T, of the TRNC in 1996, Tatar worked in different firms in the UK and Turkey, including working as the general coordinator at Show TV in Istanbul between 1992-2001.

In 2003, Tatar returned back to his country and started his political life at the UBP. He was elected as Lefkosa deputy of the party in snap general elections on April 19, 2009.

He was appointed as finance minister on May 4, 2009 during Dervis Eroglu's rule and resumed the post under the Irsen Kucuk government starting on May 27, 2010.

He was once again elected as Lefkosa deputy of the UBP in 2013 snap general elections and he served as the head of Economy, Finance, Budget, and Planning Committee in the 8th period.

For the third time, Tatar was elected as Lefkosa deputy of the UBP in 2018 snap general elections. The same year, he also became the party chairman following his rival Huseyin Ozgurgun's withdrawal from the race in the second round.

Last year in May, he became the prime minister of the country to lead the coalition government of the UBP and the People's Party (HP).

Presidential election

In the first round of election on Oct. 11, Tatar came in first with 32.34% of the votes, while Akinci was second with 29.80%.

Since none of the 11 candidates initially competing got more than 50% of the votes, Tatar and Akinci proceeded to round two.

The electoral participation stood at 58.29% in the first round, making it the "presidential election with the lowest turnout."

The Turkish Cypriots headed to polls for the 10th time since 1974 to elect their president for a five-year term.

The island has been divided into the Turkish Cypriot government in the north and the Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece.

Turkey's military intervention stopped years-long persecution and violence against the Turkish Cypriots by the ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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