AKP regains grip on power in Turkey as HDP scrapes through

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By Everton Gayle  with Reuters
AKP regains grip on power in Turkey as HDP scrapes through

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) has won back its majority and will be able to form a single-party government again after Sunday’s general election, according to unofficial figures.

With almost 90 percent of votes counted, the AK Party was on 49.9 percent according to Anadolu

The Republican People’s Party, (CHP), was left trailing way behind in second on 25.4%. The Nationalists Movement Party, (MHP) recorded 11.9 while the pro-Kurdish HDP just scraped over the threshold needed to enter parliament.

This means the AKP is projected to win 316 seats, the CHP 134, MHP is looking at 41 while the HDP is forecast to win 59 seats.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will remain at the helm of a single ruling party..

His AK Party had secured an outright majority since 2002 but fell short at the last election in June. Talks failed to form a coalition.

Prime Minister and AK Party leader Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted simply “Elhamdulillah” (Thanks be to god), before emerging from his family home in the central Anatolian city of Konya to briefly address crowds of cheering supporters.

“Today is a victory for our democracy and our people … Hopefully we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019,” he said.

The HDP Party did not have the greatest of nights. It had scaled back its election campaign after its supporters were targeted in the Ankara suicide bomb attack that killed more than 100 people in October.

It polled fewer votes than in June’s election when it gained 13%. This time it just made it over the threshold required to remain in Parliament. Had it not, Erdogan’s AK Party could have been looking at a super majority, which would have granted it extra executive powers.

The HDP co-leader was quick to point the finger at the president for her party’s poor results. She said the outcome of Turkey’s general election was the result of a deliberate policy of polarisation by President Erdogan.

Figen Yuksekdag said the HDP would “analyse in detail” a drop in its support since the last parliamentary election in June, but said the fact the party had crossed the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament was nonetheless a success

The result could aggravate deep splits in Turkey between pious conservatives who champion Erdogan as a hero of the working class, and Western-facing secularists suspicious of his authoritarianism and Islamist ideals.

In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters after support for the pro-Kurdish opposition fell perilously close to the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

President Erdogan wanted and campaigned for a super majority of more than 376 seats to change the constitution with the hope of remaining in power for longer. He fell short in this respect.

The president’s crackdowns on media freedoms and tightening grip on the judiciary, following a corruption investigation that was shut down as an attempt to overthrow him, have alarmed European leaders. A large number of journalists and others have faced court proceedings for “insulting the president”.