AK Party regains majority for single-party rule in repeat election

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The snap election results indicated that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has regained the majority in a repeat parliamentary election on Sunday by winning 49 percent of the votes.

Despite pursuing divisive language and showing authoritarian tendencies through repressive policies over the country’s dissenting voices, the AK Party, which played the nationalism card by waging war against the country’s Kurds after it declared the end of the Kurdish settlement process, seems to have reached its goal to rule the country single-handedly.

Thus, the AK Party managed to secure 314 seats in Parliament even more than necessary to continue its single-party rule for another term after a break after the June election.

Winning back the parliamentary majority, the AK Party, however, seems to have failed to obtain the votes that will enable it to amend the Constitution in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s wishes to place a presidential system in Turkey by replacing with the current parliamentary system, paving the way for a one-man rule.

After the AK Party lost the majority in June’s election, it put blame on the Kurds by claiming that the Kurds deceived the government during the Kurdish settlement process, which was launched in 2012 with the aim of solving the decades-old Kurdish problem by granting social and cultural rights, prompting the AK Party government to cease negotiations and launch a war in the Southeast against the Kurds. The results also showed that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) kept its seats with a 25 percentage in Parliament, the Nationalist Movement Party saw a four percent decline as the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) managed to cross the country’s 10 percent election.

With 98 percent of the votes counted, the unofficial results of the election, which many said was more like a referendum that would determine the fate and political future of the country — becoming either more authoritarian or denying President Erdoğan the changes he aspires to and curbing his power — indicated that the AK Party received 49.29 percent, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) 25.5 percent, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 12 percent, while the HDP, which widened its appeal beyond its core Kurdish vote to center-left and secularist segments disillusioned with Erdoğan, received 10.69 percent of the nationwide vote. These percentages translate into 313 seats for the AK Party, 134 for the CHP, 42 for the MHP and 61 for the HDP.

The participation rate in the vote was 84.06 percent.

Compared to the previous election in which Erdoğan conducted an election campaign across the country by launching rallies in favor of the AK Party, a factor considered to have played into the decline of the AK Party votes and support, he preferred to remain behind the scenes this time, a strategy that seems to have worked.

Still, Erdoğan was the focus of criticism for violating Article 103 of the Constitution, which addresses the president’s oath of office and clearly states that the president must remain impartial while performing his duties, by taking sides with the AK Party and calling anyone who does not share the AK Party’s vision as an “enemy.”

The rhetoric articulated by leading AK Party figures claiming that an environment of chaos and economic instability will prevail in the country if the AK Party faces yet another defeat in Sunday’s election seems to have yielded the desired result, the early results showed.

Thus, the country missed a chance to bring the suspects of the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption scandal to the justice in which dozens of prominent AK Party figures, including Erdoğan’s family and inner circle were involved, for another four years, according to the results.

Through controversial penal courts of peace established by the government last summer, the AK Party government ensured the launch of investigations against its critics as well as the police officers who took part in major operations such as the Dec. 17, 2013 graft probe as well as the Balyoz (Sledgehammer), Ergenekon, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and Tawhid-Salam investigations. These operations shook public confidence in the legal system and strengthened fears about the formation of a government-controlled judiciary. The operations led to dozens of experienced police officers being detained, arrested or dismissed.

Party leaders highlight importance of election after casting votes

Leaders of the major political parties in the country were in unity over one thing on the morning of Nov. 1: the importance of Sunday’s vote for Turkey’s future.

That was the general tone of the leaders’ messages after each casting their vote while calling for respect no matter what the ballot box reveals.

Turkish voters went to the polls in a repeat election on Sunday due to the failure of coalition talks following the June 7 general election in which none of the political parties managed to win the necessary number of seats to establish a single-party government.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader and interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu who cast his vote central province of Konya, which is his hometown, told reporters after voting that he wishes the result of the election to be beneficial for Turkey and the whole of humanity.

Davutoğlu said he would deliver his party’s traditional balcony speech again after the vote counting process is over. The balcony speeches used to be made by the AK Party’s former leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is now the country’s president, during election nights to make an assessment of the election result for the party. Davutoğlu will again be following this tradition.

Casting his vote at the Şükrü Doruk Girl Anatolian İmam Hatip School, Davutoğlu spoke to a group of journalists in front of the school, and made a blunder by saying that he will deliver a “holiday speech” whatever the election result would be. Later, Davutoğlu corrected his words by saying, he will make a “balcony speech” in which the AK Party leader addresses party supporters.

President Erdoğan, who this time preferred not to hold rallies prior to the election contrary to the June 7 election — although he did hold consecutive meetings with mukhtars who are representatives of villages and neighborhoods in Turkey — cast his vote at the Saffet Çebi Middle School in İstanbul’s Üsküdar district alongside his wife Emine and their daughter Sümeyye.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who cast his vote in Ankara alongside his wife and their son, emphasized the importance of the election, saying it is vital for the future of the nation, the republic and its children.

HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who voted in İstanbul’s Sultanbeyli district, told reporters that the election marks an historic moment in terms of Turkey’s political history, adding, “I hope the results will serve the country’s [need for] peace and freedom, which we need more than anything. The pre-election period was full of stress and problems. Some of our friends sacrificed their lives for the sake of peace and freedom. I hope the overall results will ease the pain that their families have suffered.”

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