Can­di­dates tour as bat­tle for UBP lead­er­ship be­gins

Cyprus Today - - NEWS - By KEREM HASAN

THE race for the lead­er­ship of the main op­po­si­tion Na­tional Unity Party (UBP) is hot­ting up, with four can­di­dates tour­ing the coun­try to woo party sup­port­ers in the run-up to vot­ing in a fort­night.

Cur­rent leader Hüseyin Özgürgün is be­ing chal­lenged by for­mer tourism and health min­is­ter Faiz Su­cuoğlu, ex-fi­nance min­is­ter Ersin Tatar, both fel­low Le­fkoşa MPs, and ex-econ­omy min­is­ter and Gaz­i­mağusa deputy Su­nat Atun.

The party’s as­sem­bly opens in the cap­i­tal on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 27, with the lead­er­ship elec­tion tak­ing place the fol­low­ing day. Some 12,000 UBP mem­bers are el­i­gi­ble to vote, and will also choose 72 party as­sem­bly mem­bers.

In a mes­sage to mark the 43rd an­niver­sary of the party’s foun­da­tion, on Oc­to­ber 11, 1975, Mr Özgürgün said: “Our great­est strength is our unity . . . UBP is the party of the ‘hard days’ and we have al­ways con­tin­ued our ser­vice with love of peo­ple and coun­try . . .

“Whether in gov­ern­ment or op­po­si­tion, the UBP is the TRNC’s most im­por­tant party. We have been the party most in of­fice. We laid the ba­sis for the TRNC.”

He added: “The four-party coali­tion was formed ig­nor­ing the will of the pub­lic. The day of UBP re­turn­ing to of­fice is near.”

In his own an­niver­sary state­ment, Dr Su­cuoğlu said: “UBP is about free­dom, se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity. UBP ex­ists for the peo­ple and works for the peo­ple . . . We hope a new phase will be opened in UBP and we will be able to ad­dress the ex­ist­ing prob­lems of the TRNC.”

Ap­pear­ing on BRT tele­vi­sion, Mr Atun warned of “big­ger dan­gers” if the 83 mil­lion TL bud­get deficit in­creased and crit­i­cised Prime Min­is­ter Tu­fan Erhür­man for say­ing there was “no light at the end of the tun­nel”, telling the gov­ern­ment it needed “to have in­sight and see its way for­ward”.

“The gov­ern­ment is forc­ing the pub­lic to be neg­a­tive. When I was in gov­ern­ment for seven years, we had eco­nomic prob­lems, but we tack­led this by of­fer­ing in­cen­tives to in­vestors. This gov­ern­ment does not even have a road map.”

Mr Tatar met of­fi­cials of the cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try for their views on the econ­omy and heard of prob­lems in the prop­erty sec­tor from mem­bers of the Es­tate Agents’ Union.

Speak­ing on tele­vi­sion, he also touched on the Cyprus is­sue, say­ing the UN and EU should stop “vic­tim­is­ing” Turk­ish Cypri­ots, by “pro­long­ing the Cyprus is­sue with­out any con­clu­sion”.

“Enough is enough . . . The Greek Cypriot side does not want a fi­nite [peace] process, or have an ob­jec­tive of reach­ing a so­lu­tion soon . . . We will not play their game,” he said.

For­mer tourism and health min­is­ter Faiz Su­cuoğlu

Gaz­i­mağusa deputy Su­nat Atun

Cur­rent UBP leader Hüseyin Özgürgün

Ex-fi­nance min­is­ter Ersin Tatar

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