At least 400 candidates from eight parties and nine independent candidates are competing for the 50 seats in the parliament in Sunday's election.

People sit next to campaign posters for parliamentary elections at a cafe in the northern part of Nicosia in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), on January 3, 2018.
People sit next to campaign posters for parliamentary elections at a cafe in the northern part of Nicosia in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), on January 3, 2018. (AFP Archive)

Turkish Cypriots on Sunday voted in a snap parliamentary election overshadowed by last year's failure to reach a peace deal for the divided island in UN-backed talks.

More than 190,500 people are registered to vote in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), established in the wake of Turkey's 1974 intervention of the island in response to an Athens-backed coup.

At least 400 candidates from eight parties and nine independent candidates are competing for the 50 seats in the parliament.

The vote comes ahead of presidential polls later this month in the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus with peace efforts on hold until both sets of elections are over.

Polling stations opened at 0600 GMT and are to close at 1600 GMT.

The election in northern third of Cyprus comes six months after efforts to reunify the island collapsed at a UN-hosted peace summit in Switzerland over a number of disputes, including the withdrawal of Turkey's 45,000 troops.

The TRNC is currently governed by a coalition of the National Unity Party (UBP) and its junior partner the Democratic Party (DP).

The UBP and the pro-solution Republican Turkish Party (CTP) are the other major parties in the election, followed by the Peoples' Party (HP) of Kudret Ozersay - a former negotiator in peace talks with the Greek Cypriots.

The election, originally planned for July, were brought forward after tensions in the ruling coalition and the opposition pressed for snap polls.

Source: AFP