AKP secures mandate in Turkish general election

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey secured a solid mandate in Turkish general election, held yesterday. Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could celebrate getting 46.5% of the vote, more than 12% better than the last poll in 2002, his party will have to settle for slightly fewer seats in Turkey's parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. AKP will now have 340 seats versus 353 formerly.

The only danger at the moment is failure to reach an accord over the presidency

—Erdal Saglam, Hürriyet

Before a cheering crowd, Erdoğan said yesterday: "We've passed an important test of democracy that is an example to the world. The people have pronounced the Justice and Development Party as the central political power in Turkey."

Abdullah Gül in 2005
Image: Jose Cruz/ABr.

AKP called this election, ahead of schedule, after opposition parties boycotted the vote on AKP's presidential candidate, Abdullah Gül, and the Constitutional Court annulled the result. Speaking about the issue of the presidency, Erdoğan told a news conference: "We will resolve this matter without causing tensions."

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary David Miliband, said: "It's very important that across Europe we reach out to the new government in Turkey when it is formed. A stable and secure Turkey is massively in our interests."

In Washington, spokesperson Tony Snow said: "It was a free and fair election, and Turkey remains an important ally of the U.S."

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the government must move forward on reforms as EU entry talks have stalled. "We expect the new government will be formed swiftly. It is essential that the new government will re-launch the legal and economic reforms with full determination and concrete results," he told reporters.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), saw the greatest growth in support. Although in 2002, they pulled nearly 6% in support it was not enough for any seats. The 14.3% achieved in this election, got the MHP 71 seats. The general secretary of the party said it won't seek to create tensions.

The Republican People's Party (CHP) was dealt the biggest setback in the election. CHP saw an erosion in support that cost them 66 seats, leaving them with 112.

"The only danger at the moment is failure to reach an accord over the presidency," said election observer and columnist for Hürriyet, Erdal Saglam.


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