In a stunning blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, preliminary election results in Turkey’s parliamentary election on Sunday suggested that his party could lose its simple majority in Parliament.
With about 97 percent of the vote counted, Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP, was well ahead of other parties with the support of just over 41 percent, according to state-run TRT television. But the projections had it around 260 seats — 10 below the minimum to keep its majority.
As the tally came into focus, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a nod to democracy.
“The people’s decision is the most correct decision,” he said, while boarding a bus to the airport. He was set to fly from his hometown of Konya to the capital, Ankara.
The AKP’s failure to win an overall majority could mark an end to 12 years of uninterrupted stable single-party rule and would be a setback for both Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The two men portrayed the election as a choice between a “new Turkey” and a return to a history marked by short-lived coalition governments, economic instability and coups by a military whose influence Erdogan has now reined in.
But the partial result indicated that the HDP had succeeded in widening its appeal beyond its Kurdish core vote to center-left and secularist elements disillusioned with Erdogan.
The HDP is now likely to play a significant role, particularly after a bombing on Friday killed two people and wounded at least 200 at a party rally in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
Report compiled with information from Reuters and Associated Press.
Bulent Aliriza on the Turkey election results
For more on Turkey’s election, CCTV’s Susan Roberts spoke to Bulent Aliriza from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He’s the director of their Turkey Project.