For the first time in 13 years, the Turkish AKP, led by President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu, has lost its majority hold on the parliament. Just four years ago, the AKP won 326 seats in the parliament, well over the 276 needed for a majority. All they needed was four more seats and they could hold a public referendum on rewriting the constitution to make Erdogan a sultan-like figure to rule over Turkey.
But this election proved disastrous for Erdogan as the AKP lost around 68 seats, enough to remove their majority for the first time since 2002.
The election results are below. As you can see the AKP won only 258 seats, 18 seats below what they needed to maintain their simple majority. The new HDP Kurdish party managed to get almost 13%, which is a big deal because they needed a minimum of 10% to get into the parliament.
So going forward the AKP must form a coalition with one of the opposition parties to govern, and everything I’ve read suggests that the MHP is the most likely to form a coalition with the AKP. The MHP is known as a part-religious (Islamist), part-nationalist party in Turkey.
If no coalition is formed, they will have to hold elections again.
The interesting thing about all this is how much Erdogan had riding on this election. He’s been strongly promoting the ‘New Turkey’ he is creating as well as his need for a new ‘presidential system’, almost daily. Indeed, he’s been heavily criticized for holding so many rallies for the AKP, as the president of Turkey is supposed to be a non-partisan figure.
Erdogan had really put himself out there and for his party to lose so many seats, it makes me wonder how he will respond to this.
I must admit I was surprised to see Erdogan’s party lose so many seats, as I’ve been saying they would win ‘by hook or by crook’. But perhaps the loss was so big that even electoral fraud couldn’t have overcome the results.
So at the moment Erdogan’s ‘New Turkey’, his revived Ottoman Empire, has suffered a major blow and stands in question. We’ll have to see how things go in the days that follow to see if Erdogan tries to fix this within the realm of democracy or if he decides to use more authoritarian tactics.