Turkish Cypriots are braced for a runoff in late April to decide their next leader in Northern Cyprus.
Leftist challenger Mustafa Akinci is currently celebrating eating into the incumbent conservative leader’s votes.
Although Derviş Eroğlu still has a slim two percent lead with 29 percent of nearly all votes counted so far, Akinci is considered most in favour of reunification with the Greek Cypriots. This stance could see him gain support from the smaller centre-left and independent parties. By comparison, Eroglu is regarded as more nationalistic and has tabled the idea of a referendum for Turkish Cypriots to decide whether to continue talks at all.
Euronews reporter Bora Bayraktar was in Nicosia :
Having Mustafa Akıncı at the runoff against current leader Derviş Eroğlu, has been seen as the people’s message of change. Who will be the next leader of Turkish Cypriots? This question will be
answered by Turkish Cypriots next week.
One voter told euronews:
“I congratulate people for the courage to change, because change demands courage. Our people have shown it, they’ve done this for themselves. I am sure the outcome of this race will also be positive”.
Another man in Nicosia said:
“We will see good days. Peace in Cyprus cannot be stopped”.
Reunification talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots are expected to resume soon. They stalled in October 2014, when Greek Cypriots withdrew over tensions relating to the sovereignty of natural gas exploration.