As TRNC voters go to the polls today, it is thought that there are three candidates out of seven who are likely to make it to a second round.
According to the Deputy Editor of ‘Kibris Gazetesi’, Sehat Incirli, “We estimate that out of 176,000 registered voters, around 140,000 will cast the ballot. There is no way anybody could get 70,000 votes during this election, absolutely no way,” he says.
The latest opinion polls put Dervis Eroglu, Sibel Siber and Mustafa Akinci virtually neck and neck at about 30% each.
The hardest to fathom is Kudret Ozersay. The former negotiator in the Cyprus talks is predicted to gain about 16% of the votes. This will not get him through to the second round, however, it is thought that he could become president or prime minister at some time in the future if he forms his own party.
It appears that incumbent President Dervis Eroglu would be facing off either Mustafa Akinci or Sibel Siber in a second round vote, however, Eroglu has been losing support to Ozersay.
This could lead the way for a final round between Akinci and Siber.
One pundit says that if Siber gets sufficient support from her own party (CTP) this would give her the edge over independent and strongly pro-solution Akinici.
Some speculate that Turkey would have a preference for Siber over Eroglu or Akinci, both being too independent for Ankara’s taste.
Chief Editor of radical opposition journal ‘Afrika’ said: “I don’t know why Ankara does not like Eroglu, but they don’t. And it is obvious why they would be opposed to Akinci.”
Given the current mood of disillusionment amongst many voters, nothing should be taken for granted. The traditional parties appear to have lost touch with their grassroots and voting patterns have changed was the opinion of political analyst Dr Omur Yilmaz. Thus, Eroglu, who won the election by 50% in 2010 is far less likely to be re-elected this time.
Mustafa Akinci (Independent) appeals to the electorate, says PRIO senior researcher Mete Hatay.
“People are tired of old faces, corruption scandals, un-kept promises. They want somebody clean whom they can trust. Akinci with his good record both as a politician and a consistent supporter of the solution to the Cyprus problem might just provide them with such an option.
He is also perceived to be the only one who could prove to be a worthy interlocutor for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is someone with enough of the political weight and experience to be able to talk to him more like an equal,” Hatay says.
So overall for the three front runners, it will be a tight contest. Polling booths close at 6.00 pm.