For months now the various parties have campaigned their cause for the respective mayoral candidacies in each municipality.
The two largest parties are UBP and CTP. UBP was Rauf Denktaş’s party, the first president of Northern Cyprus. There is a Turkish nationalist party, conservative. Our current President Derviş Eroğlu is also leader of the UBP.
CTP is a social democratic party that Mehmet Talat was party leader when he was elected to the Northern Cyprus second president. They are for an association / union with the south side.
DP is the 3rd largest political party and directed by Serdar Denktaş, son of Rauf Denktaş. DP is a SPLINTER PARTY from UBP but have the same ideology.
Then there are some small parties too. It has been difficult to find out the facts from them when they have few supporters here in my village.
Any small coffee shops you see around the villages usually have simple décor and are full of “old men” who belong to a particular party. They are normally small quiet places, but in the last few months there has been a hive of activity with late discussions and tactics talks ahead of the election.
In the last two weeks there have been meetings in the square every night with a party per evening. With the BIGGER party/richer party, the meetings are more lavish and sometimes even have food afterwards.
The day before yesterday was the final rush and ALL were here from all parties. They drive around in all municipalities to show their-selves. Everywhere you went there were debates going on with loud voices and where everyone had an opinion. It is usually the men who gather in the village centre for a good while to solve the world’s problems. All roads to and from the centre are closed, they have high security around these kinds of “rallies” for the party leaders’ security, but it is not so tight that you cannot shake hands with party leader and president. They walk around, shake your hand and have kind words for everyone.
Yesterday, during the actual voting, which was very private, all gathered in the village outside the village school, where everyone queued in order to cast his/her vote for their party.
There are a total of 175,258 eligible voters here.
I’ve talked to quite a few here and have found it fascinating that even in the family, opinions are divided and they are not afraid to say speak their minds. Wife and husband often vote for different parties. Many have that way of thinking.
Choices here are important the events are a chance to vent their opinions as Turkish Cypriots which they do not miss out on. So every 5 years, it’s great time here and resembles almost a carnival atmosphere. People wait for the results of their village and then debate the night away.