Turkish Cypriots elected a new leader on Sunday, Ersin Tatar, reaffirming strong ties with Ankara and signaling possibly new developments in the Cyprus Problem.
Tatar, who came on top in the first round a week earlier but failed to secure enough votes, managed to persuade undecided voters to show up en mass, with the winning candidate receiving 51.74% of the vote in Sunday’s runoff.
A total of 67,385 votes went to Tatar, against 62,858 votes for outgoing Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who got 48.26%.
Tatar, who is backed by the National Unity Party (UBP), seeks closer ties with Turkey and disfavours a federal solution to the Cyprus Problem, calling Akinci's pro-federation agenda as "unrealistic."
Political pundits said the two candidates were going head to head earlier in the day, after independent Akinci received big support from the left and Tatar managed to draw additional voters especially in rural areas.
But signs Tatar was getting ahead were visible early on as midday exit polls showed voters in right-wing areas were heading to the polls unlike the previous Sunday when many sat out the first round.