Cyprus Political Parties
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
The Turkish Cypriot community had three major political parties. A few smaller parties emerged in the 1980s, and a 1990 alliance among three opposition parties was short-lived.
The ruling party, the National Unity Party (Ulusal Birlik Partisi--UBP), was founded by Denktas in 1975. Its head in 1990 was Dervis Eroglu, the prime minister. UBP was reported to draw on former members of the Turkish Resistance Organization (Türk Mukavemet Teskilâtu--TMT) and other conservative nationalist forces. The party was also a rallying point for forces that sought close ties to Turkey and identified themselves as Turks more than Cypriots. In the 1980s, the party governed alone or in coalition, but was riven with internal personality conflicts and charges of corruption. Its electoral performance was uneven, but the party implemented electoral law changes that favored its plurality. Its strength was augmented, it was commonly accepted, by support from settlers from the Turkish mainland. In the 1976 elections, UBP won thirty of the forty parliamentary seats; it dropped to eighteen seats in 1981 but won twenty-four seats in the enlarged parliament of 1985 and 34 in the 1990 elections. After March 1990 changes in the electoral law favoring the strongest party, UBP won nearly 70 percent of the seats with 55 percent of the vote.
As it had in the municipal elections of 1976, 1980, and 1986, the UBP won a majority of the mayoral posts in the elections of June 1990. The party's victory was not as impressive as in the past, for the other parties boycotted the elections, and the UBP had only independent candidates for opponents. Despite the absence of organized opposition, UBP won only fourteen of the twenty-six mayoral contests, although it was victorious in the three largest municipalities, Nicosia (Lefkosa), Famagusta (Gazimagusa), and Kyrenia (Girne).
The second major party in the "TRNC" was the Communal Liberation Party (Toplumcu Kurtulus Partisi--TKP), founded in 1976 by Alpay Durduran. The party has supported a federal solution but has criticized the government for the pace of negotiations, the failure to encourage more contact between the two communities, and the policy of encouraging settlers from Turkey. The party's head, Mustafa Akinci, served three terms as mayor of Nicosia, and became known for his bridge-building efforts with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Lellos Demetriades. In one of the few examples of bicommunal cooperation, the two mayors worked with the UN and other international organizations on joint projects such as restoration of the medieval walls of the capital city and a common sewage system. The TKP was strengthened temporarily in 1990 when Ismet Kotak, former UBP deputy and newspaper publisher, left theIsmall defunct Progressive People's Party and joined the TKP. The TKP backed Ismail Bozkurt, an independent presidential candidate, in the 1990 parliamentary elections. The TKP won six seats in the 1976 elections, thirteen in 1981, ten in the fifty-seat chamber in 1985, and five in the 1990 elections as part of an electoral alliance, the Democratic Struggle Party (Demokratik Mucadele Partisi--DMP). In mid-1990, the strength of the party was weakened when the DMP failed to oust the UBP. The TKP withdrew from the alliance, and most of its members boycotted the parliament to protest what it considered electoral improprieties by the ruling party and by Turkey.
The third of the main parties and the oldest party in the "TRNC," the Republican Turkish Party (Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi-- CTP) was founded in 1970. Its leader Özker Özgür disavowed alleged communist leanings and described his party's ideology as progressive socialist. Much of the CTP's support derived from the small labor movement on the island. The party won two seats in the 1976 elections, six in 1981, twelve in 1985, and seven in 1990, when it joined the TKP and the New Dawn Party (Yeni Dogus Partisi-- YDP) in the DMP electoral alliance. After the elections and the collapse of the alliance, the CTP deputies joined their TKP colleagues in boycotting the parliament.
The YDP emerged with minor electoral strength in the 1985 elections. Founded in 1984 with considerable support from the Turkish Embassy, the YDP consolidated several smaller parties that attracted support from Turkish settlers on the island. Many settlers, however, continued to vote for the UBP. The party's leader for several years was retired Turkish colonel Aytaç Besesler, who arrived on Cyprus in 1979. In the 1985 elections, the YDP won four seats in the Legislative Assembly. In 1988, Besesler was replaced as party head by Orhan Üçok, reportedly a supporter of Turkish opposition leader Süleyman Demirel, and less inclined to provide automatic support for the ruling party and the president. The YDP briefly joined the electoral opposition alliance DMP that stood in the May 1990 elections, presumably because its membership felt the government was not moving quickly enough on some issues of concern to them, one of which was providing legal title to their property. When the DMP failed to defeat the UBP and disbanded, the two YDP candidates took their seats in the Assembly.
Data as of January 1991
NOTE: The information regarding Cyprus on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cyprus Political Parties information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cyprus Political Parties should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.