CYPRUS: Nationalist UBP party gets mandate for coalition in the north

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has given the right-wing National Unity Party a mandate to form a coalition that commands a majority in the assembly in the occupied north of Cyprus following the collapse of the previous administration.

Akinci on Tuesday gave UBP’s leader Ersin Tatar 15 days to form a new administration in the north after the four-party ruling coalition collapsed over a political scandal which, allegedly, led key partner Kudret Ozersay’s People Party to step down.

It is believed that UBP will seek to form an alliance with Ozersay’s HP as other parties talk of a conspiracy between UBP and HP to deliberately bring down the administration and assume power.

Rumours have it that the deal between the two parties will see UBP’s Tatar become the leader of the coalition, while Ozersay will have UBP backing in the elections for a new Turkish Cypriot leader in 2020.

Head of the ruling coalition and of the left Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Tufan Erhurman tendered his resignation to Akinci, officially on Monday, essentially marking the collapse of a 15-month partnership between four parties of different political backgrounds.

Erhurman had led the coalition which included left-wing CTP, the leftist Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Denktash’s Democratic Party (DP) and the People’s Party.

Ozersay’s People’s Party had earlier stepped down claiming mistrust amongst the partners which had reached its peak after a land scandal involving the son of Serdar Denktash the leader of the Democratic Party (DP) came to the surface.

A probe was launched into public land being leased without proper procedures being followed by the Rauf Denktash University, of which Serdar Denktash’s son Rauf is a main shareholder.

Following the launch of the probe, Serdar Denktash stepped down in order to facilitate the investigation. Denktash heads the centrist Democratic Party (DP) one of smaller partners in the coalition.

We have been relieved of a huge burden, but we have taken on the duty of the opposition, said Denktash.

UBP is known for its nationalistic stance on the Cyprus problem, while HP, although considered to be more moderate in its views, was quick to jump on Turkey’s suggestion of alternative solutions, other than based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Currently in the Turkish Cypriot assembly, UBP has 21 seats, CTP 12, HP 9, TDP 3, DP 3 and the extreme-right-wing New Birth Party (YDP) 2.

Source: The Financial Mirror