Elections in the north that were set to take place in April have been postponed for six months amid mounting chain reactions of the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish Cypriot media reported on Tuesday.
The decision was taken during an emergency session of the Turkish Cypriot parliament, attended by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, party representatives, the Attorney-General in the north and Turkish Cypriot House speaker Teberrüken Uluçay.
Uluçay said efforts to lay the legal foundations of the decision to postpone the upcoming presidential elections in the north had begun.
He added that the decision was taken in view of the public health crisis currently weighing the island.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci will remain as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community during the extended pre-election period.
Coronavirus cases rise to seven in the north
A seventh person tested positive for the virus in the north on Tuesday, involving a German tourist who was already in isolation in a hotel.
The new case, who was transferred to a public hospital in the north, is the fifth member of a group of some 30 tourists who had travelled to the north from Germany earlier this month to test positive for the virus.
The remaining cases involve two Turkish Cypriots who had recently returned from the UK.
Coronavirus outbreak brings domino economic effects in the north
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the entirety of Cyprus has brought economic chain reactions to the north, with the Turkish Cypriot leadership unable to effectively respond.
Particular issues are being presented in the private sector, with private businesses drawing their curtains and locking their doors after the Turkish Cypriot administration ordered that workers remain home, and warned that they will not be receiving salaries as normal.
Some private businesses have also asked their employees to prepare for the worst, even suggesting that they seek alternative work until the coronavirus health crisis passes.
For public sector workers, the Turkish Cypriot government’s limited budget meant it could not effectively respond to the significant needs that arose following the coronavirus outbreak, with Ankara so far proving reluctant to provide financial assistance to the north.
Turkish Cypriot Labour Minister, Faiz Sucuoğlu, warned the community that public sector wages may come in late, and did not rule out the possibility of wage cuts.
The Turkish Cypriot Minister of Economy and Finance, Hasan Taçoy, said the economy was hit the hardest by the coronavirus crisis.
“What sort of measures could be taken in a place where there are no economic activities?” Taçoy said.