Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Two times Turkish Prime minster has claimed victory in his third electoral battle. His election brings end to a historical campaign by Turkish political parties as it was dubbed the first election away from ideologies and more on issues. With the results following in it seems that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won more than half of the votes cast. Giving it 50.1 per cent votes and allowing it gain nearly 326 seats, falling 4 seats short of a majority needed to change the constitution.
It was not just AKP falling short of expectation the main opposition party Kemal Ataturk’s Republican People’s Party on 25.8 per cent, it was expected they could gain more than 28 per cent but the sex tapes seems to have dented their prospects of gains. They gained just 4.8 per cent from their last score. The other opposition party Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 13 per cent of total votes scarping through the knock out benchmark of 10 per cent.
The Kurdish backed Independent candidates, who received blessing form the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the Kurdish-majority southeast, received 5.8 per cent of votes. According to these results AKP will get 326, CHP 135, MHP 54 and independents 35.
The disappointment for Mr. Erdogan is that he would now need other parties to support him to bring about broad based changes to the country’s constitution. The two third majority means 367 seats and AKP falls 41 seats short of the required majority and he would require support from other parties if he is willing to bring about the planned changes they have in mind.
Erdogan wants to change the current constitution introduced under martial law in 1982, to make it more democratic. Erdogan’s critics claim he wants to take the seat of president and before doing so he wants to consolidate more powers to the role through constitutional changes.
Erdogan confidently came to vote at a school in eastern part of Istanbul where he spoke to his supporters and said the voting is going in a peaceful environment and there is a high turn around. On the other hand the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, of CHP said while casting his vote that everyone should respect the outcome and said this will be an end to a long marathon.
Turkey has developed into a mature thriving economy based on democratic values, the battle is still not over between the ideologies of secularism and modernism. Erdogan is accused of a closeted islamist and with Islamists on the rise in the region he might face some trouble in coming days, but his credentials as a strong leaders who believes in conviction politics there are slim chances that he could fail. Again it is all in the hands of people who elected him to stand by him through tough times. So far they have, I hope they would do so in future.