The 7th Presidential Election will be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on 19 April 2015. Seven candidates will contest in the election. President Dr. Derviş Eroğlu, President of the Assembly Sibel Siber, Mustafa Akıncı, Kudret Özersay, Mustafa Onurer, Mustafa Ulaş and Arif Salih Kırdağ applied to the High Electoral Council to stand in the election, which is to be held on the 19th of April.
Total number of voters is 176,912 of which 55,763 from Lefkoşa, 45,992 from Gazimağusa, 35,397 from Girne, 20,809 from Güzelyurt and 18,951 from Yeni İskele.
The elections in TRNC are held within the framework of Constitution and Laws and are categorized into 3 types as the Presidential Elections, the Elections of Assembly (the elections of Members of Parliament) and General Local Elections.
It is the right and duty of every citizen over 18 years old to participate and vote in the Elections and Referenda; it is determined by the laws that the age to be elected for the elections of Member of Parliament and General Local Elections is 25, and for the Presidential Elections it is 35.
The Presidential elections are held in every 5 years.
A candidate, who contests in a presidential election in the TRNC, should poll the absolute majority of the eligible votes. Unless any candidate ensures the absolute majority, the election shall be repeated 7 days later between the two candidates who win the highest votes in the poll and the one at the head of the poll becomes the President.
Principles of Presidential election in TRNC
The elections and referenda are held according to the principles of liberal, equal and universal direct suffrage.
Each voter votes personally.
A secret ballot is held.
Counting, breakdown and recording of the votes are made openly.
Qualifications of a voter
Every TRNC citizen who is over 18 years old and registered in the register of voters in conformity of rules of the Elections and Referenda Law is a voter; and is entitled the right to vote in elections and referenda. However, those who are restricted and banned from the public services cannot vote.
The date for voting is taken as the basis in the determination of those who are over 18 years old. In processes to be made before determination of the election date, any date determined by the High Electoral Council shall be taken as the basis.
Job description of the TRNC President and a brief overlook to the historical process
According to the Constitution of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus enforced on 5 May 1985 with a referendum, President of the Republic shall be the Head of the State and he is elected for a period of 5 years. In this capacity he shall represent the unity and integrity of the State and the people. The President of the Republic shall ensure respect for the Constitution of the Republic, carrying out of public affairs in an uninterrupted and orderly manner and the continuity of the state.
The President can preside to the session of Council of Ministers, however he is not entitled the right of voting. The President of the Republic shall not be responsible for acts committed in the execution of his duties. The Prime Minister and the Minister concerned shall be responsible for appointment orders jointly signed together with the President of the Republic. The President appoints the Prime Minister among the members of parliament and appoints the Ministers upon the proposal of the Prime Minister. The President can terminate the post of any minister upon the request of the Prime Minister. If the President is a supporter of a political party, he/she does not adhere to the decisions of his/her party, and behaves independently. The President and the leader of a political party cannot be the same person.
The President also has the power to reject the laws approved by the assembly or to proclaim the laws by publishing in the official gazette. The President can receive the opinion of the Supreme Court, which sits in the court as a Constitutional Court, whether a law or decision of the Assembly is contrary to the constitution or not. When a martial rule or mobilization is declared according to the Constitution, the Council of Ministers, convened under the presidency of the President, can issue a statutory decree on the subjects necessitated by the case of emergency or martial rule.
Although the role of the TRNC President is limited to that in the parliamentary system it is over being symbolic. To be elected by the public, puts the President in an important position in the executive power. Beyond all these, the function of representing TRNC in the negotiations concerning Cyprus problem entitles the President the powers which are much higher than being symbolic.
Rauf R. Denktaş, who contested in the presidential elections as an independent candidate between the years 1985-2000, had succeeded to be elected in all elections as the President. Rauf R. Denktaş, who polled 70.2% of the votes in 1985; 66.7% of the votes in 1990; and 62.5% of the votes in 1995 and became the President reelected in 2000 due to the fact that the number of candidates decreased to one with the withdrawal of candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dr. Derviş Eroğlu. While Rauf Denktaş did not become a candidate in the Presidential elections in 2005, candidate of the Republican Turkish Party Mehmet Ali Talat became a new name in Presidency of the TRNC with 55.59% of the votes. In 2010, candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dr. Derviş Eroğlu became the new president of the TRNC with %50, 35 of the votes.