LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Premier Ersin Tatar is leading the presidential race in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), according to initial results.

With 12.71% of ballot boxes opened so far, Tatar has secured close to 34% of the votes, the TRNC’s Bayrak Radio and Television Corporation said.

President Mustafa Akinci has received 27.82% votes while Tufan Erhurman, the head of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party, is trailing behind him with 21.75%.

Independent candidate Kudret Ozersay, who is also the deputy prime minister, got 5.65% of the votes counted.

Eleven candidates competed in the election, seven of them as independents.

As many as 198,867 registered voters were eligible to vote in 738 ballot boxes.

The Supreme Election Committee is expected to announce the results by 10 p.m. (1900 GMT).

The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north, and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece.

Turkey’s military intervention stopped years-long persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

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