Hardliner Eroglu Pulls Ahead
At 124,079 votes counted so far in the Turkish-Cypriot 'presidential' election (99.05 percent), Dervis Eroglu's lead has widened to 50.39 percent compared to Mehmet Ali Talat's count of 42.84 percent.
Eroglu had hoped for 55 percent of the vote in the election, which is widely seen as a landmark poll which may decide the success or failure of reunification talks between the Greek-and-Turkish-Cypriot communities. There was a large turnout for the elections, which had seven candidates on the ballot and around 76 percent of the 164,072 eligible voters.
If he wins the election it is expected that Eroglu will continue reunification talks but on the basis of a two-state federation, a position rejected by President Demetris Christofias who has negotiated with incumbent Talat for 20 months on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single sovereignity and international identity.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday urged the Turkish-Cypriot leadership to continue talks no matter what the result of the elections.