The victory of Mustafa Akıncı in northern Cyprus gives hope to Turkish Cypriots of a better future

Entrenched political parties are crumbling these days in the Eastern Mediterranean. The upstart Syriza handily defeated its elder rivals in Greece, while the Kurdish-backed HDP is on the rise amongst liberal and left-wing voters in Turkey. And now in north Cyprus, an independent leftist candidate won the presidency in a landslide victory on 26 April that many are celebrating as a concrete step towards peace.

Certainly, the election of Mustafa Akıncı, long-time mayor of north Nicosia, has already brought the first glimpse of hope that this small community has had in more than a decade. But while many foreign observers and the Turkish Cypriot left are declaring this a triumph for reconciliation, the surge towards a candidate who positioned himself outside the party system is also a symptom of other worrying developments that will not be so easily resolved at the negotiating table

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