Voting for parliament in early general elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) started early Sunday.

Nearly 203,800 voters are eligible to cast ballots at 763 polling stations.

There are eight parties running in the election, with 403 candidates contending for spots in the 50-seat parliament.

Among the 403 candidates are 131 women – nearly one-third – with the youngest born in 1996.

The parties running in the election include the ruling National Unity Party (UBP), Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Democrat Party (DP), People’s Party (HP), Communal Liberation Party-New Forces (TKP-YG), Rebirth Party (YDP) and Independence Path Party (BY).

The election threshold for parties in the TRNCto be represented in parliament is 5% of total votes.

With COVID-19 cases surging recently due to the omicron variant, health measures kept political rallies small, with no more than 150 people allowed. Also, those diagnosed with COVID-19 are not eligible to vote.

The Turkish Cypriot state last November set the date for early elections, one year ahead of schedule.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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