By Murat Demirci
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - Four Turkish Cypriot political parties on Thursday signed a protocol to form a coalition government.
The move comes two days after Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mustafa Akinci passed on the mandate to form a government to Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhurman, who came second in the Jan. 7 election.
For the coalition deal, Erhurman met with People's Party (HP) leader Kudret Ozersay, Communal Democracy Party (TDP) leader Cemal Ozyigit, and Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktas.
After the four party leaders and their teams finalize the coalition government, they will present the Cabinet to Akinci on Friday, Erhurman told the signing ceremony.
"This is not just a coalition protocol on four parties ruling a country. It is a coalition protocol based on four parties ruling together with our people, without excluding or factionalizing any part of our people," Erhurman said.
In the Jan. 7 snap election, no party won enough votes to rule single-handedly, but Huseyin Ozgurgun's National Unity Party (UBP) got the most votes at 35.6 percent.
The UBP won 21 seats in parliament, while the CTP got 12 seats with 17 percent of the vote.
In addition, the People's Party (HP) got nine seats, the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) and Democratic Party (DP) three seats each, and the Rebirth Party (YDP) two seats.
Twenty-six out of parliament’s 50 seats are needed to form a coalition, and the person with the mandate needs to form one within 15 days.
Since the last general elections of January 2013, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has had three coalition governments led by three different prime ministers.
Last November, the Turkish Cypriot parliament passed a motion calling for early elections. Under the motion, general elections originally planned for July 2018 were moved up seven months to Jan. 7.