Turkey’s crucial parliamentary election concluded with an amazing outcome: Since the implementation of the very anti-democratic election threshold of 10%, The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a leftist and pro-Kurdish party, managed to pass it for the first time.
Almost all the pre-election polls saw the rise of the HDP but the majority of the public were expecting a result that would be slightly over the threshold. Instead, with its wide range of candidates, the HDP managed to increase its votes all across the country, get 13,1% of the votes and pass the threshold easily.
During the election campaign, HDP’s offices, meetings and other activities have been attacked more than a hundred times. Two of its offices and one of its meetings were bombed. Three people died, tens of them were wounded. Tens of its election observers were taken under custody just two days before the election.
Nevertheless, the election results show that there is a big electoral realignment from the governmental party of Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the HDP and the far right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and some from the social democrat Republican People’s Party (CHP) to HDP. If we compare the results from this election with the previous parliamentary elections that took place in 2011: AKP dropped from 49,5% (327 seats) to 40,9% (258 seats), CHP dropped from 25,9% (135 seats) to %25 (132 seats), MHP increased from 13,0% (53 seats) to 16,3% (80 seats) and HDP from 6,5% (35 seats) to 13,1% (80 seats).
Yet AKP managed to win the first place at 57 provinces. CHP won 10 provinces, MHP won 1 province, and HDP won 14 provinces. The mismatch between voting rates and province alignment of the parties results from the vote concentration. HDP won the first place almost in all of the Kurdish cities with great margins. At the same time they won seats in Istanbul (the biggest city), Ankara (the capital), Izmir (the third biggest city), Bursa and Kocaeli (industrial cities) and in Mersin, Adana and Antalya in the south of the country.
With these results, AKP failed to get 276 seats, which are required to form a government alone, for the first time since 2002. Furthermore, they fall behind the number of seats to change the constitution (367) or to hold a referendum (330) about realization of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s desire to transform the country’s regime to a presidential system, and become the president himself. Also because of both the AKP’s third term rule about being an MP and the rise of MHP and HDP, lots of prominent members of AKP have lost their parliamentary impunity and will be tried corruption charges with corruption.
Now the country faces the problem of not knowing which parties would be able to form a coalition. High levels of political and social polarization within the society gave rise to a sentiment close to hatred against AKP and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. All parties made election promises that aim to undermine the AKP’s power. MHP, let alone to be in a coalition, hardly accepts to be in the parliament with HDP, and CHP+HDP do not have enough seats to form a government. Minority government is not a common practice for Turkey.
No matter what happens, people were smiling in the morning of 8 June. AKP lost almost 10% of its votes and the HDP passed the threshold. President Recep Tayyip Erdohan, who was on TV channels almost every day, didn’t show up to make a victory speech and didn’t appear anywhere still. New government should be formed within 45 days. Otherwise the President has a duty to call for early elections. This means next few weeks are going to be very critical for the country’s future.