13 years of AKP majority rule has come to an end. On Sunday, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its long-held majority, while the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) gained a historic 13.1% of the vote and with it, 79 parlimentary seats. This is the first time in history that a pro-Kurdish party has been able to break the 10% threshold necessary to individual representation in the Turkish parliament.
Erdogan’s Leadership At Risk
In recent months, Turkey’s President and AKP party member Reccip Tayyip Erdogan has indicated that, under a newly elected AKP parliamentary majority, he would like to amend the Turkish constitution to expand his presidential powers. However, with the loss of 50 parlimentary seats for Erdogan’s AKP, this will no longer be possible.
To pursue a coalition government, the AKP and Erdogan will likely have to cede any aspirations for amending the constitution for expanded presidential powers. It is also possible that the AKP will not be able to form a coalition with any of the opposition parties.
Pro-Kurdish HDP Won’t Form Coalition
HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, have announced that they are not interested in forming a coalition with the ruling AKP. The two other opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have also expressed disinterest in forming a coalition with the AKP.
The disinterest in forming a coalition government with Erdogan and the AKP stems from the hard line against opposition parties that the AKP has recently taken. Erdogan and the AKP have been critical of the HDP, accusing it of sponsoring the outlawed PKK, a Kurdish political organization that has used terrorism to achieve political ends.
Unclear Future for Turkey
With a heavily contested debate about a coalition government, Turkey’s political future remains uncertain. Many believe that a coalition government without the AKP would not be possible, as the three opposition parties do not have enough seats to create a supermajority on their own.
It has been suggested that early elections may be necessary if a coalition government is not formed.[Read more at Reuters]