The party of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has lost out to the opposition in local elections held on Sunday. Observers say the poor showing by the ruling Republican Turkish Party suggests voters are growing weary of the international isolation of northern Cyprus.
The opposition National Unity party won the highest number of municipal seats, gaining the majority in the nominal capital of Nicosia. Talat is due to meet Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos on July 3. It will be the first meeting between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders since a UN reunification plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots in 2004. However talks are expected to avoid the core issues behind the political deadlock that has plagued the ethnically divided island for decades.