Turkish Cypriots were forced to call elections after the coalition government of prime minister Mehmet Ali Talat lost its slim parliamentary majority shortly after Greek Cypriots in the south rejected a UN plan to reunify the divided Mediterranean island. 

Opinion polls predict the elections will not bring any one party to power but produce the same fragmented result as the last polls in December 2003, fanning fears of uncertainty in the isolated self-proclaimed state recognised only by Ankara. 

The polls have generated little excitement among the electorate with most parties attracting only minimal crowds at rallies. 

PM's agenda

Only the pro-settlement Talat, who is tipped to emerge as the biggest victor in the polls, managed to draw a crowd of about 30,000 in the biggest rally in the election period. 

Talat, who heads the centre-left Republican Turkish Party (CTP), says he will push for a revival of peace talks should he come to power again. 

The party, which won the last elections after fiercely advocating the failed UN plan, is arguing that a victory will help it push for a revival of peace talks and allow the isolated Turkish Cypriots to integrate with the international community. 

His main contender in the race is the nationalist National Unity Party (UBP) of former prime minister Dervis Eroglu who is a fierce opponent of reunification with the Greek Cypriots on the basis of the failed UN plan.