Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was dealt a political blow with the AKP, Edrogan’s political party, projected to win only forty-one percent of the vote in parliamentary elections. His party, the Justice and Development Party, had been in control for the past thirteen years. Erdogan came to power himself as prime minister in 2003 before eventually winning the Presidency.
Erdogan had wanted to transition Turkey over to a presidential republic. Doing so would require a two-thirds majority in the Parliament for approval and the party had been working to expand their majority. Now, Erdogan’s dreams of the new government system seem dashed. Other political parties made the election into a referendum on Erdogan’s presidential republic desires. President Erdogan is a divisive, yet popular, figure in the country.
“Our nation’s decision is final. Respecting this is a responsibility for all political parties,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised speech from the AKP headquarters. Before his speech, Davutoglu responded to the results by saying, “The people’s decision is the most correct decision.”
Projections indicate the AKP will end up with 258 seats in Parliament, eighteen seats short of a majority and far short of the 367 seats for a two-thirds majority. Results show the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) following the AKP. The HDP landed with a surprising fourth place and was able to cross Turkey’s ten percent threshold. This was the first election in which the pro-Kurdish political group ran as a single party. Kurds are a minority in the country.
All three of the other major political groups are opposed to President Erdogan’s reform plans and some have openly said that they will not form a coalition government with the AKP. The AKP must now look at either forming a coalition government or a minority government.