19 Apr 2009

Deal at risk in Cyprus

1:59 pm on 19 April 2009

Turkish Cypriots are set to vote in northern Cyprus in parliamentary elections that could hamper efforts to reunite the island.

Polls show the ruling Republican Turkish Party trailing the right-wing National Unity Party.

The CTP backs Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who has been making progress in talks with Greek Cypriots.

The BBC reports campaigning has focused on the peace talks, which relaunched in September last year, and the economy.

Cyprus has been split since a Turkish invasion in 1974, that followed a brief Greek-inspired coup in Nicosia.

About 160,000 people are eligible to vote in the elections. Polls open at 8am (0500 GMT) on Sunday and close 10 hours later. Results are expected around midnight (2100 GMT).

The last attempt at a negotiated solution to the Cypriot problem - in 2004 - collapsed when Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of a UN settlement plan which was rejected by Greek Cypriot voters.