Turkish Cypriots voted yesterday in parliamentary elections that could bring defeat for the governing party and new momentum to stalled peace talks aimed at uniting the island's Turkish and Greek sectors. Analysts say voters in the breakaway Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus could unseat President Rauf Denktash's National Unity Party for the first time in 15 years. The region, created following Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus, is only recognized by Turkey.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Denktash won his fourth term as president by capturing 67 percent of the vote, but his party appears much less popular.
Analysts say if the National Struggle Party, an opposition coalition, wins power, it will leave Denktash virtually powerless, because most decisions are made by the legislature and the president has little executive power.
The opposition has accused Denktash of intransigence in reunification talks on Cyprus.
While opposition leaders say they would welcome peace talks, they have also indicated they would not retreat from the traditional Turkish demand for a loose federation with both zones. Turkey maintains an estimated 30,000 troops in the north and has given substantial funding to the republic.