HDP Co-Chairman Selahattin Demirtas voting
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has suffered his biggest setback in 13 years of amassing power as voters denied his ruling party a parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002 and gave the country’s large Kurdish minority its biggest voice ever in national politics.
The election result on Sunday, with almost all votes counted, appeared to wreck Erdoğan’s ambition of rewriting the constitution to establish himself as an all-powerful executive president. Erdoğan’s governing Justice and Development party, or AKP, won the election comfortably for the fourth time in a row, with around 41% of the vote, but that represented a steep fall in support from 49% in 2011, throwing the government of the country into great uncertainty.
The vote was the first time in four general elections that support for Erdoğan decreased. The fall coupled with an election triumph for a new pro-Kurdish party meant it was unlikely that the AKP would be able to form a majority government, forcing it to negotiate a coalition, probably with extreme nationalists, or to call a fresh election if no parliamentary majority can be secured within six weeks.
The new party, the HDP or Peoples’ Democratic party, largely representing the Kurds but also encompassing leftwing liberals, surpassed the steep 10% threshold for entering parliament to take more than 12% of the vote and around 80 seats in the 550-strong chamber.
The HDP victory denied Erdoğan’s party its majority.
RTFA for a long, detailed description and discussion of all the main factors in the election. Unlike, many journalists, many politicians outside of Turkey, I am not confident in continued democratic progress. I think there is a possibility of a power-hungry opportunist like Erdoğan forming a fascist alliance with the military and throwing out elections altogether.
I think he would count upon promises to wreck what’s left of the original secular constitution of Turkey, to install something he’d characterize as an Islamist state to pacify conservative rural voters. I think the United States would continue to treat him as their ace player in the Muslim Middle East.
I ain’t alone.