LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Voters in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Sunday cast ballots for parliament in early general elections.

The voter turnout was 55.43% by 5.30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT), according to the election authority.

Nearly 203,800 Turkish Cypriots went to the polls to elect lawmakers of the 50-seat parliament.

The voting started at 8 a.m. local time (0600GMT) and ended at 6 p.m. local time (1600GMT).

The unofficial election results are expected to be announced by the Supreme Election Committee around midnight.

Eight parties run in the election, with 403 candidates having contended for spots in parliament.

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

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 the schedule.

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

The parties run in the election included 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).

Currently, there are 49 deputies in parliament; 20 from UBP, 12 from CTP, six from HP, three from DP and TDP, one from YDP, and four independent deputies.

Some 40 of the 49 current deputies of the parliament run in the election.

Over Ersin Tatar having been elected as the TRNC’s president, the number of deputies in parliament had decreased to 49.

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