06/13/2011, 00.00
TURKEY
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Erdogan wins elections, but victory not as big as he hoped for

The Justice and Development Party fails to secure the 330 seats needed to call a constitutional reform. The Republican People's Party makes gains, as the Nationalist Movement Party holds on to its core support. “The people gave us a message to build the new constitution through consensus and negotiation,” Erdogan said.
Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan won Turkey’s election with 49.9 per cent of the vote (with 100 per cent of the ballots counted). The secular-Kemalist Republican People's Party (CHP) came in second with 25.9 per cent, followed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with 13 per cent. Finally, 5.9 per cent went to independent candidates, mostly Kurds.

In terms of seats, the AKP elected 325 Members of Parliament (341 in 2007); the CHP elected 135 (a gain of 23) and the MHP secured 53 (losing 18). Independent won 36 seats.

Erdogan’s AKP hoped to get at least 330 seats necessary to call a referendum to change the current constitution (see Nat da Polis, “The fateful numbers of Turkey’s election,” in AsiaNews 11 June 2011). For changes to the constitution, a majority of two thirds of the seats is necessary.

From this perspective, the election result is a disappointment for the prime minister who said his party would be "humble".

"The people gave us a message to build the new constitution through consensus and negotiation," he said. “We will be seeking consensus with the main opposition, the opposition, parties outside of parliament, the media, NGOs, with academics, with anyone who has something to say."

Mr Erdogan said the AKP and others would write a "civilian, free constitution which embraces all parties of society together".

Significantly, more than 2.8 million voters supported the candidates of the Democracy and Freedom Block. Website bianet, which covers freedom of the press and human rights issues, noted, “This is an important success achieved with the votes received in eastern and south-eastern provinces and in Adana and Mersin at the eastern Mediterranean.”

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