TURKISH CYPRIOTS ELECT PARLIAMENT

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ATHENS, February 20 (RIA Novosti, Alexei Bogdanovsky) - On Sunday, a general election will be held on the territory of Northern Cyprus occupied by the Turkish army. The results of the election will determine the composition of the government of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The election will also determine the future of the political situation in the north of the island in the light of recent developments around the Cypriot problem.

According to the results of public opinion polls, the Republican Party led by Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed republic Mehmet Ali Talat is the most favorable candidate to win the election. It might receive approximately 20 out of 50 seats in the TRNC parliament.

The runner-up, according to the polls, is the National Unity Party led by Dervish Eroglu, which, contrary to the Republicans, maintains a skeptical attitude toward the idea of Cypriot settlement.

Even if Talat's party wins the election, it will need a support of the Democratic Party headed by Serdar Denktash, the son of TRNC President Rauf Denktash, in order to form the Cabinet.

During April 2004 referendum, Turkish Cypriots called for unification of the island on the basis of the UN plan. However, the Greek-Cypriot community rejected the UN plan during the same referendum, having considered its provisions unacceptable. As a result, only the southern part of the island was de-facto admitted to the European Union on May 1, 2004, and the residents of the occupied territories were left outside the EU for an undeterminable period. Nevertheless, the loyalty exhibited by Turkish Cypriots during the referendum, the experts note, will play in favor of not only the Turkish residents of the island, but also Turkey, which started full-fledged negotiations with the European Union last year on the issue of its accession to the EU.

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