Turkey’s Ruling Party Sweeps Back to Majority in Parliament

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -
A supporter of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and The Justice and Development Party, (AKP), holds up a Turkish banner that reads: “Our President is Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” as he celebrates at the AKP headquarters, in Istanbul, Sunday. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
A supporter of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and The Justice and Development Party, (AKP), holds up a Turkish banner that reads: “Our President is Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” as he celebrates at the AKP headquarters, in Istanbul, Sunday. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Turkey’s ruling party secured a stunning victory in Sunday’s snap parliamentary election, sweeping back into single-party rule only five months after losing it.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared victory as results reported by state-run TRT media showed that the ruling Justice and Development party won more than 49 percent of the vote and was projected to get 316 seats in parliament. The result, reported after almost all votes were counted, would give the party a comfortable majority in the 550-seat parliament.

Following the vote, Davutoglu struck a conciliatory tone, asking ruling party supporters to remain solemn and to embrace fellow Turks.

“Today is the day of victory but it is also a day for humility,” Davutoglu said, addressing supporters in his hometown of Konya, where he voted.

The vote was a rerun of a June election in which AKP surprisingly lost its one-party rule due to a strong showing by a Kurdish party. Most analysts had expected AKP to fall short again, but the results suggest it picked up millions of votes at the expense of the nationalist MHP and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP.

While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not on the ballot, his long run of pre-eminence over Turkish politics looked set to continue. However, his party will fall short of a supermajority that he had sought in order to change Turkey’s constitution and boost his presidential powers.

Amid renewed violence in Turkey following the June vote, Erdogan and Davutoglu argued that only a single-party majority could restore stability.

Fighting between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels has left hundreds of people dead and shattered an already-fragile peace process. Two recent massive suicide bombings at pro-Kurdish gatherings that killed some 130 people, apparently carried out by an Islamic State group cell, also increased tensions.

Turnout in the election was about 87 percent among the 54 million people eligible to vote at more than 175,000 polling stations. The national election board usually takes days to certify the final vote count.