Wednesday

20th Mar 2019

Turkish voters snub Erdogan

  • Result shows discomfort with authoritarianism and Islamism (Photo: akparti.org.tr)

The AKP party lost its majority in Turkey’s elections on Sunday (7 June), putting the brakes on president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to consolidate power.

With 99 percent of votes counted, the AKP won 41 percent, leaving it 18 seats short of single-party rule - the first time in 13 years.

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  • Erdogan: Bad day at the office (Photo: akparti.org.tr)

The CHP, a secularist, social-democrat faction, came second with 25 percent, followed by the nationalist MHP on 16 points.

The Kurdish minority party, the HDP, also entered parliament with 13 percent.

It did so despite being formed just three years ago and despite being associated with the Kurdish separatist movement, the PKK.

The Turkish constitution gives the parties 45 days to form a government.

For his part, the AKP prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said: “The elections once again showed that the AKP is the backbone of Turkey”.

"No one should try to build a victory from an election they lost”.

Devlet Bahceli, the MHP leader, indicated he doesn’t want to link up with Davutoglu.

"The first possibility [for a coalition] … should be between AKP and HDP. The second model can consist of AKP, CHP, and HDP," he said.

"If all these scenarios fail, then early elections must be held”.

The CHP and HDP have also said they won’t join AKP, with political uncertainty prompting the lira to lose value against the dollar on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Erdogan, who campaigned for the AKP despite the fact the Turkish president is supposed to stay neutral, has kept silent.

The result puts in doubt his plan to transfer power from parliament to the presidential palace by amending the constitution.

It also shows voter discomfort with his increasingly authoritarian and Islamist politics.

“Voters said a clear no to the presidential system”, Murat Karayalcin, the CHP chairman said.

Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP leader, noted: “As of this hour, the debate about the presidency, the debate about dictatorship, is over. Turkey narrowly averted a disaster”.

Demirtas has positioned his party to attract young Turkish liberals and fielded gay and women candidates.

He said the election is a victory “for those who want a pluralist and civil new constitution".

His deputy, Sirri Sureyya Onder, said: “This was a victory of democracy over political corruption ... of peace over war”.

Analysis

Erdogan down but not out

Turkey’s voters have shown they don't want to be ruled by one man, slowly shifting away from Europe.

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