Turkey’s voters deliver a blow to the President
The Turkish elections delivered a blow to incumbent President - Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His Justice and Development party - AKP, lost its majority in parliament, winning only 258 of the 550 seats. It is likely to enter a coalition for the first time since 2002. AKP's seat loss is largely due to the surge of HDP, which won 13% of the votes.
The much awaited Turkish election could change the face of politics. President Erdogan campaigned for AKP in order to get enough majority to change Turkey's constitution to introduce strong presidential powers. He considers the current parliamentary system ineffective. In this background, it is crucial for AKP to win the required number of 367 seats to change the constitution without holding a referendum.
Turkey uses the D'Hondt voting system which requires a party to win a certain % of the national vote to take up any seats it has won. If the party wins less than the threshold percentage, it forfeits all its seats which are then reallocated to larger parties.
With 53.7 million eligible voters, Turkey headed to polls. The ruling AKP was up against 3 major parties - CHP, MHP and HDP. The pro-Kurdish HDP party was expected to eat into AKP's share and cross 10% of the vote. For a political party to enter the parliament , it has to pass a threshold of a minimum 10% of the total vote.
HDP was formed in 2012 from a collaboration of smaller pro-Kurdish political groups. With increased support base and popularity, HDP is seen beyond being just Pro-Kurds to incorporate interests of various groups. Though a small party, HDP is significant for its progressive ways from its commitment to gender equality to inclusion of minority groups such as environmentalists and LGBT rights activists.
Kurds are an ethnic group in the Middle East inhabiting in the parts of Southeastern Turkey, Western Iran, Northern Iraq and Northern Syria. They are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Iranian people.
With most votes counted, AKP was projected to win 259 seats, 17 seats short of a simple majority. The main opposition party CHP was projected to win 130 seats while the second opposition party was expected to win 83 seats. The leftist party, HDP outperformed expectations and was projected to win 78 seats.