North Cyprus’ left wing opposition parties emerged victorious from Sunday’s Local Elections, after their candidates came first in the three big Mayoral races.
Incumbent Mehmet Harmancı of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) won comfortably in the capital Lefkoşa, while candidates for the main opposition Republican Turkish Party, Murat Şenkul and Süleyman Uluçay, won hard fought contests in Girne and Gazimağusa.
The ruling right-wing National Unity Party (UBP) retained control of Güzelyurt and İskele, and retook Gönyeli from the CTP.
UBP’s Mahmut Özçınar made history winning a seventh successive term in Güzelyurt, beating his nearest rival, CTP’s Osman Bican by nearly 900 votes. Özçınar received 4,425 votes, defeating Bican on 3,551 votes, while independent candidate Reşat Kansoy received 2,015 votes.
Özçınar, 65, is a teacher by profession and a refugee from Binatlı in South Cyprus. He was first elected Mayor of Güzelyurt in 1998. He has won every election since, in 2002, 2006. 2010, 2014, and 2018.
On the other side of the island, Özçınar’s UBP colleague Fatma Çimen Tuğlu made history too by winning in the Mehmetçik-Büyükkonuk election in Karpaz. Tuğlu was one of six female candidates to stand for one of the 18 Mayoral positions, and the only one to win. She becomes the TRNC’s second female council leader and the first in 32 years.
The TRNC’s first female council head was Sevim Akbaş, who was elected in Akıncılar (Lurucina) in 1986. Akbaş was tragically murdered in her own home four years later. Her killer was never found.
Elsewhere in the 2022 Local Elections, there was success for three independent candidates, who were victorious in Beyarmudu, Alsancak/Lapta/Çamlıbel, and Yeniboğaziçi in the Karpaz district.
The Beyarmudu result has yet to be officially confirmed after objections and counter-objections were raised with officials. Initially incumbent İlker Edip was declared the winner and was then told he had lost by 33 votes to his main challenger, Bülent Bebek. The matter has been referred to the TRNC Supreme Election Council.
2022 Local Election statistics
As things stand, Sunday’s election results saw CTP win seven of the 18 councils, UBP take six councils, TDP and the Democrat Party (DP) one council each, and the independents three.
The turnout for Sunday was 68.85%, up on the 2018 Local Elections figures, which stood at 64.12%. The number of people eligible to vote at these elections was 208,236 people.
There were 768 ballot boxes across the country, open for ten hours, from 8am to 6pm on Sunday.
UBP pipped CTP to the highest number of councillors, with 90 UBP councillors elected on Sunday compared to 87 for CTP.
The outcome for the remaining 43 of the 220 council seats were as follows: 15 councillors for DP, 13 for TDP, 13 for YDP and 2 for HP.
In addition, 240 muktars (village heads) and 960 village ‘elders’ were elected.
Share of vote
The share of vote for the two main left-wing opposition parties in the 2022 Local Elections was up compared to the 2022 General Elections in January of this year.
CTP secured 35.4% of the vote in the 2022 Local Elections, up from 31.9% in the 2022 General Elections.
TDP more than doubled their vote share in the same period, gaining 12.8% of the ballot in the local elections, compared to 6.2% in the general elections.
UBP saw their vote drop from 39.6% in January’s General Election to 35.8% in Sunday’s vote. Their coalition partners were similarly down. YDP scored 5.7% in the local elections, compared to 6.5% in January, while DP went from 7.4% to 7.2%.
The centrist People’s Party (HP) saw its vote collapse from 6.7% in January to just 1.8% on Sunday, reflecting the deep woes within the party.
HP currently has no MPs in the TRNC Parliament after its leader, Kudret Özersay, resigned over the way Prime Minister Faiz Sucuoğlu was deposed. His two fellow HP MPs, Jale Refik Rogers and Ayşegül Baybars, refused to do the same and last month announced they were quitting the party.
Main photo, top, of some of the big winners of the TRNC 2022 Local Elections ( L-R): UBP’s Mahmut Özçınar (Güzelyurt), TDP’s Mehmet Harmancı (Lefkoşa), and CTP’s Süleyman Uluçay (Gazimağusa)