Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET
The ruling party of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who had parliamentary elections would deliver a super majority — looks like it will lose its majority altogether.
With roughly 97 percent of the votes counted, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, appears to have secured only about 260 seats in the 550-member Grand National Assembly.
Erdogan, who is not on the ballot himself, nonetheless had been counting on the election to bring his party a more robust majority so that it could change the constitution and transform his largely ceremonial post into one with real power.
“Voters said a clear no to the presidential system,” the CHP’s Istanbul chairman, Murat Karayalcin, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The Associated Press said it is “an indication of how precipitously Erdogan’s fortunes have fallen in the campaign, he had begun the campaign asking voters for 400 seats. … AKP needed a majority of 330 seats … to call for a national referendum to change the constitution. With 367 seats, it would be able vote in a change without a referendum.”
The BBC says Turkish television projections indicate the AKP’s share of the vote “would translate into 263 seats in the 550-seat parliament, followed by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) would get 11.6% – 75 seats.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote before the polls opened that Erdogan is pushing to “fundamentally transform the Turkish state” amid challenges that include an “$800 billion economy and … national-security [risks] stemming from unrest at home and conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq.”
Nearly 54 million people were eligible to vote in 81 provinces across Turkey.