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northern cyprus election 2015

Mustafa Akinci has won the presidential election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Standing as an independent, leftist Mustafa Akinci, 67, won 60.3% of the votes in Sunday’s runoff, according to election commission figures.

He defeated incumbent conservative President Dervis Eroglu, a conservative elected five years ago.

Mustafa Akinci has said he would work with renewed urgency to find a peace deal on Cyprus after four decades of division.

The island was divided in 1974 by a Turkish invasion staged in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup staged to secure a union with Greece.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Peace negotiations came to a halt last October, when Greek Cypriots walked out in protest over Turkish rights to explore natural gas off northern Cyprus.

Correspondents say that Mustafa Akinci is viewed as a moderate who can push forward the stalled reunification talks that are expected to resume next month.

The new president capitalized on a wave of discontent against Dervis Eroglu, who failed to unite right-wing supporters.

“We achieved change and my policy will be focused on reaching a peace settlement,” Mustafa Akinci told thousands of joyful supporters at a victory rally.

“This country cannot tolerate any more wasted time.”

Mustafa Akinci said that he had already spoken to Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and that they had agreed to meet soon.

“[Nicos] Anastasiades and I are [of] the same generation… If we can’t solve this now, it will be a tremendous burden on future generations,” he said, pointing out that the strength of his victory was a riposte to those who accused him of selling out to Greek Cypriots.

Mustafa Akinci earned his political colors during a 14-year term as mayor of the Turkish-Cypriot half of the capital Nicosia from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.