The Turkish election paves the way for compromise

June 13th, 2011   Articles | Countries and Regions | Turkey

The Turkish election on June 12 is considered a success to almost everyone involved, comments Thomas Gür, advisor to the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation.
The election on June 12 could be considered a success for almost everyone concerned. The ruling AK Party strengthened its support among voters from 47 percent of the votes in 2007 to close to 50 percent. While in government, the AK Party has earned a gradually increased support in three parliamentary elections and successfully faced the electorate in two local and regional elections as well as in two referendums.

 This largest opposition party, the left wing/nationalist party CHP received an increased election support and a stronger stand in parliament. The nationalist MHP was able to retain its support. Its 13 percent kept the party in parliament, in spite of fears that the party would end up below the 10 percent threshold. The independent candidates, primarily Kurdish politicians, almost doubled their share of the parliament by taking 36 seats.Due to the lack of voter support to parties below the threshold – none of them received more than 5 percent – the Parliament turned out to represent 95 percent of the voters – in spite of the bias caused by the 10 percent threshold.

Regardless of the strongly polarized and infected election campaign, there is thus a basis for broader agreements in parliament – especially regarding the pronounced new constitution.

The possibilities for such cooperation is further improved as the AK Party, despite the increased support, failed to reach the qualified majority of 330 or 367 seats respectively needed to change the constitution on its own (through public referendum called for by 330 of the members or through an absolute majority of 367). Thus, the AK Party needs to look for support from other groups in the parliament to support their constitutional changes. Such a process, with the need for discussion and compromise, will in itself serve to lessen the polarization and increase

Naturally, it also means that the AK Party has to give up its vision of a constitution that would significantly strengthen presidential powers.

Text:Thomas Gür, writer, Turkey expert and advisor to the JHS

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