Something Marvelous Happened at the Turkey Ballot Box Today: Islamists Lose Parliament
Turks went to the polls today in parliamentary elections, and the era of single-party Islamist rule appears to be over.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been counting on the continued rule of his AKP party to change the country's constitution after these elections, consolidating his already increasingly authoritarian rule into something even more dastardly.
But a 2/3 majority of AKP in parliament is needed to change the constitution.
Today, the Islamist party walked away with only 41 percent of seats.
That's an eight percent drop from 2011.
In a country where the Islamists have garnered the animosity of all manner of opposition groups, from nationalists to Kurds, good luck forming a coalition.
And to add insult to Erdogan's injury, the Kurds will have a party in parliament for the first time.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), aka Ataturk's party, got just over 25 percent of the vote, as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) drew a little over 16 percent. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, got 13 percent of the vote, which should translate to 79 seats in parliament.
Forty percent of those HDP deputies will be women, which sets a record for the highest percentage of women representing any party in Turkish history. Just days ago, Erdogan was the subject of a large Twitter protest of women turning their backs on the president after his latest sexist remarks.
Republican People’s Party Istanbul chairman Murat Karayalçın said that the CHP is "highly likely" to lead a coalition government, reported Zaman, "provided that other opposition parties keep their pre-election promise not to form a coalition with the AK Party."
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu briefly addressed AKP supporters. "May the peace of Allah be upon you. Don’t worry. Hopefully this nation’s decision is the best decision. In any scenario we won’t lean in front of any power," he said.
Minorities also made gains during Erdogan's heartburn moment.
Three Armenians from three different parties won seats, as well as one Roma member of parliament.
This despite the AKP's attempt to smear the HDP party as pro-Armenian in leaflets that Turks on Twitter reported finding at their doors the morning of the vote.