Conservatives winning in Turkish Cypriot parliamentary elections

Conservatives winning in Turkish Cypriot parliamentary electionsNicosia/Ankara  - The conservative National Unity Party (UBP) was winning by a wide margin in premliminary results after Turkish Cypriots voted Sunday in parliamentary elections.

The UBP had 44 per cent with about two thirds of the vote counted, according to Turkish television reports.

The governing left-wing Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which currently has 25 seats in the 50-seat Parliament, was at about 30 per cent.

A change in government in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a state recognized only by Turkey, will not directly affect reunification talks with Greek Cyprus but could put pressure on TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat to take a harder line.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided into a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by Greek Cypriots seeking unification of the island with mainland Greece.

Reunification hopes were scuppered in 2004 when - in twin referenda - Greek Cypriots rejected a UN-brokered deal that was accepted by Turkish Cypriots.

Reunification talks resumed in September, and mediators are hopeful that a new deal can be brokered within a year. (dpa)