By Murat Demirci
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - Unable to form a government weeks after Jan. 7 general elections, the Turkish Cypriot prime minister on Tuesday returned the mandate to form a government to the nation's president.
Huseyin Ozgurgun returned the duty he got on Jan. 24 to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mustafa Akinci.
Akinci will pass on the duty to Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhurman, the second largest party in parliament.
In the Jan. 7 snap election, no party won enough votes to emerge as the ruling party, but Ozgurgun’s National Unity Party (UBP) got the most votes, 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) garnered 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 under the constitution, 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.
In November 2017, 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.