There was no clear winner in the first round of the National Unity Party (UBP) leadership contest on Saturday.
Two of the candidates, Faiz Sucuoğlu and Hasan Taçoy, were head and shoulders above the other three, garnering over 70% of the votes between them.
Sucuoğlu and Taçoy now go through to the run-off, to be held on Saturday 7 November, with the candidate securing the most votes not only becoming the new leader of the conservative UBP, but also head of the North Cyprus government.
Thousands attended UBP’s 11th Extraordinary General Meeting at the Lefkoşa Atatürk Sports Arena, and a total of 6,801 members cast their vote in the leadership contest.
Voting ended at 8pm, and the count went into the early hours of the night. The results were as follows:
- Faiz Sucuoğlu: 2,706 (39.79%)
- Hasan Taçoy: 2,102 (30.91%)
- Nazım Çavuşoğlu: 691 (10.16%)
- Dursun Oğuz: 688 (10.12%)
- Ünal Üstel: 575 (8.45%)
- Spoilt ballots: 39 (0.57%)
With no candidate reaching the required 51% threshold to win, the leadership race goes into a run-off between the top two candidates next weekend.
Speaking after the vote Mr Sucuoğlu said: “Despite the pandemic, 6,800 of our members came here. We have successfully completed a great AGM. I thank you all. You showed the difference and size of UBP again. UBP has emerged stronger and bigger from this congress.
“We spent it in a festive mood. In UBP, nobody allows a fight. UBP is one, we are together. If UBP is one, the TRNC is also strong. If we can manage to be [one], we will succeed in everything.”
Scenes from yesterday’s UBP AGM
KKTC’de UBP genel başkanını (dolayısıyla Başbakanı) seçiyor. Göreve Hasan Taçoy, Dursun Oğuz, Faiz Sucuoğlu, Nazım Çavuşoğlu ve Ünal Üstel talip. Seçimde salt çoğunluk sağlanamadığı takdirde en çok oy alan iki aday 7 Kasım’da 2. turda yarışacak. pic.twitter.com/XfqLcJnhva
— Muhammet İkbal ARSLAN (@mikbalarslan) October 31, 2020
The 59-year-old Labour and Social Security Minister is widely tipped to become the next UBP leader, and he may not need to wait until the run-off. His rival Hasan Taçoy, 57, is weighing up whether to continue in the race.
Mr Taçoy, who is the Economy and Energy Minister, will make his decision known on Tuesday. After the results, he thanked each of the candidates and said:
“It is necessary to celebrate the strong base of UBP. We had a democracy festival today. More than 6,800 people made UBP even more powerful. This power only exists in UBP. It’s not in another party.”
Main image, top, of Faiz Sucuoğlu (right) and Hasan Taçoy