Nicosia, Apr 5: The ruling coalition in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has collapsed, paving the way for its resignation at a time when talks over the island's reunification have been making progress.
Prime Minister Omer Kalyoncu is set to officially hand in his government's resignation to President Mustafa Akinci on today morning, said Mehmet Ali Talat, head of the ruling Republican Turkish Party (CTP).
The government, which is recognised only by Turkey, collapsed yesterday after ministers from the CTP's coalition partner the National Unity Party (UBP) withdrew in protest at the cash-strapped statelet's economic policy.
UBP chairman Huseyin Ozgurgun complained that his party did not accept a decision to pay civil servants salaries in installments and was also unhappy with the water distribution on the parched territory.
"Having come to a point where there is no longer a possibility and capacity to serve our people, it is not our goal to form a government or share the office," Ozgurgun said.
Still largely cut off from the global economy, the TRNC is beset by economic problems and largely kept afloat by assistance from Turkey. It was unable to pay public sector staff their wages in March.
The alliance between the left-wing CTP and the conservative UBP, formed in July last year, was the first such grand coalition ever between the two main parties.
The CTP is the biggest party in the 50-member Turkish Cypriot government with 20 seats but is well short of a majority with the UBP holding 18 seats.
Talat indicated late Monday that the CTP was in discussions with all parties in a bid to form a new administration.
It is possible that the UBP could form a government along with independents and the Democratic Party of Serdar Denktash, the son of the TRNC's hardline former leader Rauf Denktash who died in 2012.
In 1974, Turkish troops invaded northern Cyprus in response to an Athens-engineered coup, and later occupied the territory. The TRNC was declared in 1982, recognised only by Ankara, and decades of UN-brokered peace talks have failed to reach a peaceful conclusion.