Pro-EU candidate Mehmet Ali Talat comfortably won yesterday’s leadership elections in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus to replace veteran Rauf Denktash and establish himself as the outright head of the Turkish-Cypriots. Talat, leader of the center-left Republican Turkish Party (CTP) which won February’s assembly elections, said that he wanted to reach out to Greek Cypriots in a bid to reunify the divided island after being declared the winner of the election with 56 percent of the vote. His nearest rival and an opponent of the UN plan for reunification, Dervis Eroglu of the National Unity Party, polled just 23 percent. «Once again, the Turkish-Cypriot people clearly showed to the entire world and to Cyprus that they are for a solution and peace. I am also informing the Greek-Cypriot leaders that I am extending my hand for peace and this hand will be there until it is held. I sincerely believe that one day this hand will be held,» Talat said after his election victory.