Turkey’s Ruling Party Regains Majority In Parliamentary Elections

· Nov. 1, 2015, 11:04 pm

The ruling party in Turkey swept parliamentary elections on Sunday and regained the single-party rule it lost in June.

The Justice and Development Party, also known as the AKP, “won substantially more than the 276 seats needed to win a majority, allowing it to form a government on its own,” according to the BBC. The BBC adds:

“Polls had indicated the AKP would receive only between 40-43% of the vote, in line with how it fared in June, when it lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

“Attempts to form a coalition government after the June election failed.”

Reporting from Istanbul, NPR’s Peter Kenyon tells NPR’s Newscast unit the vote is a big win for Turkey’s president, AKP founder Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

“After a surprising loss of support five months ago, Erdogan called snap elections and warned voters that Turkey could see instability and unrest without a single-party government. The summer and early fall saw renewed fighting between the army and Kurdish militants, and the Islamic State was blamed for deadly suicide bomb attacks, a rarity in Turkey.

“If the unofficial results hold up, it would seem voters took Erdogan’s message to heart and are returning the AKP to power on its own, avoiding a coalition government. The pro-Kurdish HDP appears to be just barely above the 10 percent threshold for claiming seats in parliament.”

Peter adds the election takes place a few weeks before Turkey is set to host a G-20 economic summit.

The Guardian reports the voting took place against a backdrop of increasing tensions and violence in Turkey. The publication also said that with decisive vote, “Turkey’s strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tightened his grip on power decisively.” It adds:

“The result could exacerbate divisions in a country deeply polarised along both ethnic and sectarian lines; Erdoğan is adored by supporters who hail him as a transformative figure who has modernised the country, but loathed by critics who … see him as an increasingly autocratic, even despotic leader.”

The Associated Press reports, though this was a significant victory for Erdogan, his party will not get everything it had hoped from these elections.

“While Erdogan was not on the ballot, his long run of pre-eminence over Turkish politics looked set to continue. However, his party will fall short of a supermajority that he had sought in order to change Turkey’s constitution and boost his presidential powers.”

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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