UPDATES WITH TATAR'S REMARKS, ADDS MORE BACKGROUND
By Muhammet Ikbal Arslan and Mehmet Sah Yilmaz
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus /ANKARA (AA) – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar won Sunday's presidential runoff in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with 51.74% of the votes, according to unofficial results.
Narin Ferdi Sefik, the head of the Supreme Committee of Election, announced that Tatar, the presidential candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP), won the second round of the public vote.
Independent candidate Mustafa Akinci, who is the incumbent president of the island, bagged 48.26% of the votes, Sefik said, adding that official figures will be announced later tonight.
The voting ended at 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT).
Following the announcement of the unofficial results, Tatar thanked the nation and said the important thing is to carry the country to "good days" in unity.
"Turkish Cypriots deserve the best of everything. I will keep my promise. I will be the president of everyone," he pledged.
– Who is Ersin Tatar?
Tatar was born in Lefkosa in 1960. He attended high school in the UK and graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Cambridge University in 1982.
Tatar, who worked at the UK office of the Price Waterhouse audit firm between 1982-1991, received the title of chartered accountant.
Until he founded the first private TV channel, Kanal T, of the TRNC in 1996, Tatar worked in different firms in the UK and Turkey, including working as the general coordinator at Show TV in Istanbul between 1992-2001.
In 2003, Tatar returned back to his country and started his political life at the UBP. He was elected as Lefkosa deputy of the party in snap general elections on April 19, 2009.
He was appointed as finance minister on May 4, 2009 during Dervis Eroglu's rule and resumed the post under the Irsen Kucuk government starting on May 27, 2010.
He was once again elected as Lefkosa deputy of the UBP in 2013 snap general elections and he served as the head of Economy, Finance, Budget, and Planning Committee in the 8th period.
For the third time, Tatar was elected as Lefkosa deputy of the UBP in 2018 snap general elections. The same year, he also became the party chairman following his rival Huseyin Ozgurgun's withdrawal from the race in the second round.
Last year in May, he became the prime minister of the country to lead the coalition government of the UBP and the People's Party (HP).
– Presidential election
In the first round of election on Oct. 11, Tatar came in first with 32.34% of the votes, while Akinci was second with 29.80%.
Since none of the 11 candidates initially competing got more than 50% of the votes, Tatar and Akinci proceeded to round two.
The Supreme Committee of Election said the turnout was 61.03% as of 5 p.m. local time (1400GMT).
The electoral participation stood at 58.29% in the first round, making it the "presidential election with the lowest turnout."
Over 199,000 registered voters were eligible to cast ballots in 738 ballot boxes.
The Turkish Cypriots headed to polls for the 10th time since 1974 to elect their president for a five-year term.
The island has been divided into the Turkish Cypriot government in the north and the Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece.
Turkey's military intervention stopped years-long persecution and violence against the Turkish Cypriots by the ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.
*Writing by Sena Guler