Northern Cyprus names new PM after govt collapse

Conservative Huseyin Ozgurgun has been urged to rapidly form a government to support Cyprus peace talks

Northern Cyprus names new PM after govt collapse

World Bulletin / News Desk

The president of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state Friday appointed the head of the conservative National Unity Party (UBP) as prime minister, after the collapse of the previous coalition.

President Mustafa Akinci urged UBP leader Huseyin Ozgurgun to rapidly form a government to support his talks with Greek Cypriot leaders on ending the island's decades-old division.

Both Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades, the island's internationally recognised president, have expressed hope they can reach a deal this year after 11 months of promising UN-backed talks.

The  government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognised only by Turkey, collapsed after the UBP withdrew Monday from the ruling coalition in a dispute over economic policy.

The resignations left former premier Omer Kalyoncu's centre-left Republican Turkish Party (CTP) without a majority in parliament and ended the first grand coalition between the two largest Turkish Cypriot parties since the formation of the TRNC in 1983.

The UBP, which holds only 18 of 50 seats in parliament, will have 15 days to try to form a new government, under the statelet's constitution.

Ozgurgun has been reaching out to the liberal Democratic Party as well as independent lawmakers.

"It is still too early to say that there have been results," he told a press conference Friday.

Ozgurgun's party was opposed to a decision by the coalition to pay civil servants' salaries in instalments and was also unhappy with water distribution in the breakaway north of the island.

The TRNC government is still heavily dependent on aid from Turkey to stay afloat and was unable to pay public sector staff their wages in March.

Akinci heads the dovish Communal Democracy Party (TDP) and defeated the UBP candidate in a presidential election runoff in April last year with support from the CTP.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island's northern third in response to an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia seeking union with Greece.

In 2004, Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of a UN-brokered reunification plan but it was overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots, and Cyprus joined the European Union still a divided island.

Despite repeated promises from European leaders, Turkish Cypriots remain denied most of the benefits of EU membership.

Last Mod: 08 Nisan 2016, 17:46
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