Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan’s hopes of assuming greater powers have suffered a serious blow with the ruling AK Party failing to win an outright majority in a parliamentary election, official results show.
The Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the most votes in Sunday’s election but is likely to need to form coalition government, based on 98 per cent of votes counted.
The AKP secured 41 per cent of the vote, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) on 25 per cent, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on 16.5 and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) fourth on 12.5 per cent.
Voter turnout was 86 per cent.
The results mean the HDP easily passed Turkey’s 10 per cent threshold for winning seats in the parliament, which was one of the main points of suspense in the poll.
The Young Turks
As Turks head to the polls, six young Istanbul residents talk about the issues they grapple with in this rich and contradictory nation.
According to the official seat projection, the AKP will have 259 seats in the 550-seat parliament, the CHP 131, the MHP 82 and the HDP 78.
The results also wreck Mr Erdogan’s dream of agreeing a new constitution to switch Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system that he had made a fundamental point of the campaign.
Such a change would have required a two-thirds majority in the parliament.
Mr Erdogan — premier from 2003-2014 before becoming president — wanted to be enshrined as Turkey’s most powerful figure and strengthen the office of the presidency which was largely ceremonial until his arrival.
The atmosphere outside the AKP’s headquarters in Ankara was muted.
‘Awake to a freer Turkey’: opposition leader
The legislative election took place under the shadow of violence, after two people were killed and dozens more wounded in an attack on a rally of the pro-Kurdish HDP in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir on Friday.
The attack on the HDP in Diyarbakir, caused by a bomb stuffed with ball bearings, was the latest against the party in the campaign, as it tried to break into mainstream Turkish politics.
More than 400,000 members of the police and gendarmerie were deployed across Turkey to ensure security, media reports said.
Casting his vote in his home region of Konya, prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said one suspect had been arrested over the attack and was being checked for links to militant groups.
Mr Erdogan concentrated his fiercest campaign attacks on charismatic HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, belittling him as a “pretty boy” who was merely a front for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatist militants.
“Hopefully we will wake up to a new and freer Turkey on June 8,” Mr Demirtas said as he cast his vote in Istanbul.
In Diyarbakir, several people wounded in the attack, some with their legs in plaster and heads in bandages, defied their injuries to vote.
“I am not Kurdish but I voted for the HDP to have a fairer parliament and make sure the AKP obtains less seats,” Ilker Sorgun, 27, said as he cast his vote in Ankara.
The CHP sought to play on the perceived excesses of the ruling party, even accusing Mr Erdogan of having golden toilet seats in his new presidential palace in Ankara.