LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

The people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are voting for a new president on Sunday.

Eleven candidates are competing in the election, including current premier Ersin Tatar and President Mustafa Akinci. Seven of them are independent.

“I wish good luck for TRNC,” said Tatar after he cast his vote. “Hopefully for the future of the TRNC, the right person to meet the expectations of our people will get in power, and we will protect the TRNC all together.”

He hoped there would be a high voter turnout despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Urging the Turkish Cypriots to fulfill their civic duty, Tatar said the government has taken all the necessary precautions.

The voting will end at 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT), and the Supreme Election Committee is expected to announce the results by 10 p.m. (1900 GMT).

As many as 198,867 registered voters will be able to vote in 738 ballot boxes.

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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