June 10, 2015 By Interactive News Desk

AKP: A Slump, Minor Scar or Wake-up call?


Has the era of Erdogan, so hugely popular as to be called by his cynical critics as the next autocrat of Turkey, started to exhibit the signs of slow disintegration? Or else, as sympathisers of AK party (Justice and Development Party) say, it is just a jolt or wake up call to regain strength, which, they hope, it will do definitely?

In the 2015 Parliamentary election in Turkey, AKP party could only bag 40.9 per cent of the total vote share. Compared to the 2011 election, when the party bagged 49.83 per cent of votes, the swing in 9 percentage means that that the party could not rule the country single-handedly, but as part of coalition.

However, the party did not have a major setback as some analysts and critics expected. The centre-leftist Republican People’s party (CHP), which was founded by Kamal Ataturk in 1923 bagged 24.98 per cent of votes, which is also a downward swing of 1.03 per cent vote share compared to 25.98 per cent vote share it bagged in 2011, when it had registered an upward swing of 5 per cent. This means that the main opposition party, too, has gone out of voters’ favour, though its unpopularity is not so downward as AKP.

What is remarkable in the result of this year is the improvement in the vote share of Nationalist Action Party, or MHP, which, compared to 13 per cent of vote share in 2011, bagged 16 per cent vote share. The party is positioned on the far right and fuses racial nationalism (which believes in the purity of Turks descended from a common tribe) with Islamism. Also remarkable is the emergence of Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) which bagged 13.1 per cent of vote share and qualified to enter the parliament for the first time, compared to below-10 per cent threshold last time. The HDP is the political wing of separatist Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which is being led by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan. Turkish constitution has it that only when a party gets 10 per cent vote share, can the party field its candidates for parliamentary election. In 2011, the party fielded independent candidates. In the 2014 president election, the party bagged a vote share of 9.77, which motivated the party to field its candidates.  Compared to the seat it won last time, the party which did an outstanding performance this year is HDP.

The Total number of seats each party has won follows (seats that each won last time is in bracket):

AKP: 258 (311)

CHP  132 (125)

MHP : 80  (52)

HDP :  80  (29)

The situation is that the AKP had to forge an alliance either with the right wing MHP or the left wing HDP.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accepted the government’s resignation on Tuesday, asking Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to stay on in his post until a new Cabinet is formed. The prime minister’s resignation is a standard procedure after Sunday’s parliamentary election before the new government starts operating, the Turkish president’s office said. After a swearing-in ceremony on June 25, the new Turkish parliament members will have 45 days to agree on the composition of the cabinet. If they fail to form a government by that deadline, Erdogan has the power to call a new parliamentary election.

Commentators predict that rather than forging an alliance with HDP, AK party might join hands with MHP. Considering that the reasons cited for AKP’s downward slmp are the press gag, alautocratic nature of function, the neo-liberal reform of economy, the new alliance would be critical in the party’s future.

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