Erdogan’s ambitions lose his party’s majority

Sunday’s general election saw Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lose its parliamentary majority, although it still holds the most seats.

The AK party should gain around 260 seats out of the 550-seat Turkish parliament, not enough to give it a majority which would require 27 6 seats. AK party’s share of the votes fell from 50% in 2011 to 41% yesterday.

Writing in Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’, journalist Murat Yetin says that President Erdogan has to say goodbye to his ambitions of changing the constitution into a presidential system. It is evident, that the Turkish voters have rejected that plan, he writes.

No one is sure will happen next, but a three-party coalition between the opposition parties – the social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the HDP – looks unlikely, as all three have previously rejected the idea.

He writes:

A coalition of the AK Parti with any of the other parties could be possible, on the condition that Erdoğan’s presidential system is excluded. Also, a minority AK Parti government could be on the cards, with opposition deputies giving a vote of confidence to such a government in order to weaken it further.

It is also possible to speculate whether Erdoğan and the AK Parti have been victims of their own ambition when keeping the 10 percent threshold, a remnant of the military regime after 1980, in the name of “political stability.” If they had reduced it to 5 or even 7 percent, yes they would again lose the chance for Erdoğan’s presidential system, but they could have kept their parliamentary majority. Because of the complicated calculation system that the 10 percent threshold brings with it, the AK Parti has lost its parliamentary majority. Because it insisted on an unfair system in pursuit of grander ambitions, the AK Parti lost its majority despite winning 42 percent of the votes. In contrast, back in 2002 it was able to win a big majority with only 34 percent of the votes.

Some may come to see this result as the curse of the 10% threshold, but whatever is the case June 7 clearly marked the end of Erdoğan’s rise in Turkish politics.

Murat Yetkin – Hurriyet

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