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Not another election?

Everything related to politics in Cyprus and the rest of the world.

How do you intend to vote on February 20th?

Poll ended at Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:45 pm

Republic Turkish Party/Allied Powers (CTP-BG)
1
20%
National Unity Party (UBP)
0
No votes
Democrat Party (DP)
0
No votes
Peace and Democracy Movement (BDH)
2
40%
Solution and EU Party (CABP)
0
No votes
Other Party
0
No votes
Undecided
2
40%
Intend not to vote
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 5

Not another election?

Postby cannedmoose » Sun Jan 16, 2005 1:45 pm

Not another election? Voter apathy grips the north

By Simon Bahceli (Cyprus Mail)

VOTER apathy, disillusionment with politicians and confusion over policies could lead to the lowest turnout in years in next month’s general election in the north.

Turkish Cypriots go to the polls on February 20, making it their third vote in just over a year. In December last year, a general election saw current ‘prime minister’ Mehmet Ali Talat elected in to office, followed by the referendum on the Annan plan in April. Now they will be voting on whether to keep Talat in office after just one year in the job.

Talat lost his ‘parliamentary’ majority in April last year, but managed to hang on to power until the assembly’s failure to ratify the budget forced him to resign last autumn.
Adding to the general feeling of election fatigue, Turkish Cypriots will be at the polls again in April to elect a new ‘president’.

“People are fed up with having elections every few months,” says political analyst Mete Hatay in his north Nicosia office. “They want some kind of normality in their lives.”

Hatay believes voters are convinced little will change after February’s election and that public awareness of this means people see little reason to vote.

Indeed, an extensive opinion poll carried out in December pointed to a repeat of the December 2003 result, which saw seats in the 50-deputy ‘parliament’ equally divided between those for and against reunification of the island.

Public weariness with multiple elections was summed up by Nicosia businessman Ahmet Guner who told the Sunday Mail yesterday: “I’m planning to leave the country the weekend of the election so no one can hassle me for not voting. There is no one I would feel comfortable voting for.”

Guner’s feelings were mirrored by Nicosia market trader Turgay Karaman, who said: “It’s all politics. One day one of them calls another a traitor, but then you see the two of them embracing each other and forming alliances. It’s all lies and hypocrisy”.

“When a party is in opposition they are radical, but as soon as they get into office they become conservative,” he added in a thinly veiled criticism of current ‘prime minister’ Talat.

Hatay believes it is partly due to the public’s impression that Talat has shifted closer to the practices of his predecessors that many are expressing disillusionment with the administration they elected.

“They are doing the same things as the UBP [the dominant party in Turkish Cypriot politic until Talat was elected last year] did. They will lay asphalt just before the elections, they hand out jobs, they cut VAT. These are all populist moves in order to get votes,” said retired public servant Senay Gulcin, adding: “I voted for Talat thinking he would bring an end to this kind of government, but nothing seems to have changed.”
Nicosia shopkeeper Hulya Vudali agreed.

“They are all the same. Whoever comes in sacks a load of people and then replaces them with his own,” she said, adding, “I have better things to do than worry about who is coming in next.”

Hatay believes populist actions on the part of Talat’s administration come about partly as a result of the international community’s failure to fulfill promises to lift the political isolation of the north.

“They are employing a clientelist approach because they are not looking good after the EU inability to deliver on commitments they made regarding direct trade and aid. Instead of shaping public demand for better causes – as could have happened after the last election, and which could have been a stepping-stone to a new political culture – they have fallen into the same populist trap.”

He believes the unfortunate outcome of such policies is that they have few or no long-term benefits for the economy.

“They are designed to help particular groups in order to win favour.” Hatay points to a recent plan to provide interest-free loans to small businesses and homeowners. The plan was withdrawn after accusations that the ‘government’ was seeking to buy votes in the lead-up to the poll.

But public disillusionment is not focused exclusively on the ‘government’.

“Dervish Eroglu’s National Unity Party (UBP) has clearly not revised its policies in the light of the public desire for a solution and show no signs of having a vision for the future, while [Mustafa] Akinci’s [Peace and Democracy Movement] BDH has shown itself to be unable to give the impression that they can promote reconciliation within the community.” Hatay says.

“While trying to foster peace between Greek and Turkish Cypriots they [the BDH] have failed to act as a bridge between different segments of the community”.

Hatay adds that the Democrat Party (DP) led by Serdar Denktash offers few alternatives and that voters are confused by what the party stands for.

“They are neither one thing or another. They try to be everything to everyone.”

With debate on reunification of the island, as always, topping the political agenda, the Greek Cypriot ‘no’ vote in the referendum on the Annan plan is also cited as a reason for disillusionment among Turkish Cypriot voters who believed that the road to the solution of the Cyprus problem would begin in northern Nicosia.

“We didn’t get the reaction we expected from the Greek Cypriots,” said market trader Turgay Karaman. “And now peace and reunification seem further away than ever.”
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Postby turkcyp » Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:39 pm

I will not be in the country during the elections but if I were I would vote for either CTP or DP....

In the last election I have voted for CTP, but I started more and more to believe that Serdar denktash can have his own individual beliefs seperate from his father and can understand the momentums in the society better than his father so DP has a chance as well. And many in DP support a solution unlike in UBP.

CTP still has my trust. Because Talat prooved himslslf to be a good negotiator during the negotiations. That is exactly why I would not vote for BDH.

I guess accoring to me currently the society in TRNC can be groped into 3 camps.

a) People who do not like to find a negotiated agreement with GCs. This camp is votes for UBP and some small extremist parties which can not get into parliament.
b) People who want to find a solution in Cyprus, but they do not want this solution to come at any expense. They will not accepy just anything that is given to them but rather negotiate waht they want. This group will mainly vote for CTP and DP.
c) People who wants solution no matter what. For these people anything is better than current sitaution. These people will most probably will vote for BDD and couple of small other parties.

I do not think the results are going to be very much different than the previous election in terms of percentages.

- CTP will loose some of its settler votes to UBP and DP. I assume BDH will definetly loose votes mostly to CTP. They may even get some votes from DP .But overall she will come out probably 1-2% point higher.

- UBP will probably loose a lot of votes to DP but will get some extar settler votes that went to CTP in the last election. SO they probablu will loose 1-2% and still become second party.

- DP will definetly increase its votes by votes running away from UBP and by some settlers switching from CTP. Overall their votes will probably go up by 2-3% points.

- BDH will definetly loose to many votes. There will be some vote switch to CTP. And also they have split into some other smaller parties. So their votes will go down probably by 3-5%.

I expect a coalition goverment again with CTP and DP with a healthy majority this time.
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Postby turkcyp » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:12 pm

Latest polls from north for the upcoming parliamentary elections:
CTP/BG: % 35.9
UBP: %32
DP: %10.9
BDH: % 6.8
TKP: %2.9
YP: %1.1
MAP: 1.2

Participation rate to election will fall to %80 percents. There are also some parties boycotting elections.

In north election system you can mix your votes between parties and vote for the MPs directly. And %13.2 is going to vote like this.


2003 elections:
- CTP/BG: (last time %35.18 ) CTP gave birth to YP (settler party). Last time CTP tried to get settler vote by opening its list to them, and one of them got elected from CTP list. Then this person separated from CTP and formed YP this election)

- UBP: (last time %32.93) Actually there have been many departures from UBP in the last year. So I am surprised that they have this high poll showing. My expectations was lower.

- DP: (last time %12.93). AS I have said I thought there may be many departures from UBP to DP this election, but the poll does not shows this.

- BDH: (last election %13.14) Has seen some departures from last election. This year TKP, and BKP is running separately under TKP banner. It is not sure if TKP will pass the limit of %5, but their departure definitely took a toll on BDH.)

- MBP: (last election %3.23). This party does not exist anymore. Last election it was a jpint list of three right parties (ABP, MAP, BP). This election ABP and BP is not running. So MAP is going alone, and there vote in the poll is %1.2.

- CABP: (last election %1.97) Formed just before last years election as a joint list of business/solution forces. Gave the impression of liberal party. This election it is not running. I do not even know they still exist.

- KAP: (last election %0.60) Another right wing party, and was going to make alliance with MBH last election but at the last minute they didn’t. Not running this year.
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Postby -mikkie2- » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:33 pm

Well, I think it is fairly obvious that there won't be an overall winner.

It will be CTP ad DP again with all the same problems that will bring.

I personally don't think the February elections are important. The elections in April are!
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Postby brother » Wed Feb 02, 2005 1:31 pm

That is true and there will be only one winner the tc as it will be the end of rauf denktas.........yippeeeeee
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Postby turkcyp » Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:22 pm

I respect Denktas,

He has his own beliefs and he is sticking to them no matter what, and he has a decent amount of follower in the TC society (30%).

And no matter what you guys say, he has done his job of representing TC community with succes until recently. Only recently (the last 5-10 years) he has been out of touch with his society. But overall I respect the duty he has done for his society, during the last 50 years.

He is a good example of why there should be term limits and age limits in the politics. He should not have run for the president in the last election.

Also this election further shows how the election system in the north should change. Personally I never like any election system, where the chosen representatives after some time start loosing the touch with his constituents. The current system in the north does not provide that because the MPs does not even know who had chosen them. This is why I am very big proponent of a system, where there are narrow election districts choosing one MP. Like the one in UK or USA. And unlike the ones in UK and USA, not the one who has the highest votes should be chosen, but the one who has at least %50 chosen.

For example, Kyrenia district gives 8 MPs to parliament. WE can divide the Kyrenia district into 8 districts, and elect one MP from that district.

This has very nice qualities.
- First of all there will be no need to have minimum party % to be elected into the parliament. Currently this is %5. So every election around 5-10% of the votes gone wasted.
- Secondly every district would have different qualities, different constituents, with different desires. So each MP would easily know what his constituents would want from the parliament and reflect the correct views of his constituents.
- Thirdly, every MP would directly know his constituents and vice versa. I would know that I am represented by this MP, and will have a chance to vote how he had voted in the parliament and deicide to reelect him again.

With the current system society is so out of the loop, and MPs never feel responsible to the people that have chosen them. I do not know what the election system in south looks like, but I think this should be the kind of election system we should be employing in a united Cyprus as well (if there will be any).

Take care,
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Postby brother » Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:25 pm

Your proposal has merit but we are at odds about denktas.
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Postby turkcyp » Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:34 am

Ohh, Baby,

Preliminary results are out.

Talat’s party kicked ass. I guessed that they were going to increase their vote but I could have never guessed that they were going to increase this much. And this is after CTP gave birth to another party (settler party). They almost got enough vote to rule alone bu they are one MP shy.

CTP: %44.45 (25 MPs) (an increase of almost %10)
UBP: %31.71 (18 MPs) (close to %1 decrease)
DP: %13.49 (6 MPs) (close to 1% increase)
BDH: %5.81 (1 MP). (loss of almost %8. Barely made the cut with, %5 is the cut off point).

My take on the results:
Pretty much, TCs like the current government. Akinci as usual, sore looser. I think he is one of the most hyped but never materialized politician in the TC society, but for some reason he never sings at the same tune with the society.

As for my pre-election guesses. I got the directions right but not the magnitudes. I guessed only %1-2 increase in CTP bit turn out to be close to %10. UBP I have guessed %1-2 decline they got %1. DP I guessed %2-3 increase they only got %1. And BDH I guessed 3-5 decline but they got almost %8.

So I see another CTP/DP coalition. Although CTP may go to coalition with BDH, they would barely make 26 so I rather see a much more stronger government of 25+6.

So although it was very unpopular this election did change something. It definitely gave a huge boost to Talat for presidential elections in 2 months time, if he chooses to run. It definitely killed Akinci from politics. Last time he got a result like this he quit politics for a while, and left TKP. He should have stayed out. I wonder if he is elected this time. There is only one MP from BDH but I wonder if it is him. If it is not then he definitely should quit politics for good.

Presidential elections are one more reason why CTP/BDH would not work as a government. Because assuming Talat choose to run for president then their number would again go down to 25.

But he may choose not to run for president. After all president do not have that much power in TRNC anyway. May be they go to a change in the system and get a presidential system, like USA. Sorry, no offence to GCs but I do not like the presidential system in south. There is not enough separation of powers between parliament and executive branch.

Take care everybody,
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Postby turkcyp » Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:43 pm

No need to open another thread for presidential elections in north, so here we go the latest rumors on the street,

Politic developments from north,

AS you all know the presidential elections are coming. The word on the street is that nobody will be able to get 50% so there will be a runoff between Eroglu and Talat, for president.

Everybody in the right of the political spectrum will work so hard to get the Eroglu elected to president so that DP and UBP can join and become one party again. The main obstacle in their union is the existence of Eroglu and his long dislike to Denktas family. Eroglu still feels the sour taste at his lips from his last presidential election against Denktas. But this tiem around he will have full support of Denktas family at his back in the runoff election, for two reason. 1) Serdar Denkats wants to get rid of the Eroglu so that he can be the head of joint UBP-DP, 2) Rauf Denktas wants Eroglu to be president rather than Talat because of the status quo reasons.

So far Eroglu and Talat both seems to be very tied very close to 50%. If you ask a left oriented person he will tell you that Talat will win around 53% in the second round, and of you ask a right wing person they will tell you that Eroglu will win around 51% in the second round. They are very tied up right now and the outcome will only depend how much Denktad can convince the society to choose Eroglu.

But in any case, even if Eroglu is chosen as the president there is a unspoken consensus that the negotiator would be Talat in the north. Even Denktas family does not want Eroglu as negotiator. Because this would extend his political life.

In the north parliament decides who should be negotiator, and this negotiator can be any person as president, prime minister or even a third party. Talat and CTP has been trying to scare people away that if Talat is not chosen president T.Pap will not negotiate with him, as GC side only views president as the community leader, but this is the most absurd thing ever. GC side can not tell us who will represent us during the negotiations.

If TC society wants they can put a shepherd from Mesarya to negotiate. It is the will of the TC society that decides who represents Tc society not anybody else.
Last edited by turkcyp on Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cannedmoose » Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:15 pm

Really interesting stuff turkcyp, thanks for that. Since you seem pretty knowledgeable on all things TRNC politics (!), do you know of any good sources (preferably in english) on the political parties up there. I've obviously been to their websites where available, but I'm particularly looking for history, background, stance etc. If you do, I'd be grateful if you can point me in the right direction.

As for your analysis, it surprised me. Not having really thought too much about the upcoming election (another one! :lol: you guys must be sick of them), apart from realising that Denktaş senior was on the way to collect his long-overdue pension... I didn't realise there was such a dynamic towards the reunification of UBP and DP. I also didn't appreciate that Eroglu would stand any chance in a presidential run-off. I guess it depends how rigidly TC voters stick to their party lines in such contests. If they do, as you say, it could be close.

Anyway, time for dinner, thanks for that perspective TC, thought provoking. :D
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