New TRNC minority government formed, as parties confirm date for 2022 General Election

The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus has confirmed its 25th government and a date for a General Election in January 2022.

Given the mandate by President Ersin Tatar on Monday, 1 October, the National Unity Party’s new leader Faiz Sucuoğlu first task was to form a new coalition government, and he did not disappoint.

While failing to get either of the two big opposition parties on board, Sucuoğlu was able to secure their support of a new minority government after pledging to hold a General Election early in the New Year.

Sucuoğlu looked to UBP’s former coalition partners Democrat (Demokrat Parti, DP) to continue in government with a ministerial post for each of their two MPs, who duly agreed.

Sucuoğlu was able to confirm his new cabinet by 5 November, making just two changes to the team that served under disgraced former Prime Minister Ersan Saner.

Out goes Erhan Arıklı, head of the Rebirth Party (Yeniden Doğuş Partisi, YDP), who served as the Economy and Energy Minister under former Prime Minister Ersan Saner. There is no room either for Ünal Üstel of the National Unity Party (Ulusal Birlik Partisi, UBP), who was Health Minister.

In comes former UBP Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister Sunat Atun, who replaces Arıklı, while popular former Health Minister Dr Ali Pilli returns.

The new Cabinet in full

The eleven members of the Faiz Sucuoğlu government are as follows:

  • Prime Minister: Faiz Sucuoğlu (UBP MP)
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister: Nazım Çavuşoğlu (UBP MP)
  • Economy and Energy Minister: Sunat Atun (UBP, political appointee)
  • Education and Culture Minister: Olgun Amcaoğlu (UBP MP)
  • Finance minister: Dursun Oğuz (UBP MP)
  • Foreign Minister: Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu (UBP MP)
  • Health Minister: Dr Ali Pilli (UBP MP)
  • Interior Minister: Kutlu Evren (UBP MP)
  • Labour and Social Security Minister: Koral Çağman (DP MP)
  • Public Works and Transportation Minister: Resmiye Canaltay (UBP MP)
  • Tourism and Environment Minister: Fikri Ataoğlu (DP leader)

General Election date confirmed

With the new government confirmed, PM Sucuoğlu moved on to the next task of confirming the date of an early general election to overcome the problem of weak government, the result of multi-party coalitions following the inconclusive results of the January 2018 General Election.

The six political parties represented in the TRNC Parliament agreed on Monday, 8 November, to hold fresh elections on 23 January 2022 –  a year ahead of the current Parliament’s five year term ended.

The general election date was confirmed by Parliament Speaker Önder Sennaroğlu, who said a committee with representatives from each political party would be established to amend some Election and Voting laws ahead of the polls.

The primary purpose will be to simplify voting. Currently voters in the TRNC give a block vote to a single party [mühür sistemi], or vote for specific candidates from a single party. Voters can also do mixed voting [karma oy] by selecting individual candidates from multiple parties. Some of the opposition parties are keen to ditch karma oy the system of voting completely.