LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Counting began as time for voting in Sunday’s presidential election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) ended.

Eleven candidates competed 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.”

In a statement, the Higher Election Board said the voter turnout was 54.72% until 5 p.m. (1400 GMT).

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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