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The Collective
Monday, July 23, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Turkish PM vows to pursue reform

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to continue reforms and efforts to join the European Union, following his party’s election victory.

Mr Erdogan also said his Islamist-rooted AK Party would seek national unity and respect Turkey’s secular constitution.

Unofficial results gave the AK Party about 47% of the vote, prompting wild street celebrations by supporters.

[…]

But despite his election win, Mr Erdogan will lack the two-thirds parliamentary majority to force through his presidential choice.

[…]

Although the AKP has been returned to power with a larger share of the vote, the presence of a third political party in the parliament means it will have fewer seats, the BBC’s Pam O’Toole says.

[…]

She adds that the presence of Kurdish deputies and the Nationalist Action Party could be a potentially explosive mix in parliament.

The AKP’s 47% means it would get up to 341 seats in the 550-member parliament.

Two opposition parties won the 10% share needed to guarantee seats in parliament - the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) polled 20%, and the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 14%.

Estimates said the CHP would win up to 112 seats and the MHP some 70 seats, with up to 27 going to independent candidates, including pro-Kurdish politicians.

The next big test is how the seat configuration affects the election of the president, along with the pending constitutional reform to shift the election of the president from the parliament to the popular vote:

With such a clear mandate, the AKP may be tempted to nominate Abdullah Gul again, she says, though most believe the party will look for consensus to avoid dragging the country back into chaos.

And there is also that little Kurdish issue that will be on the agenda as well.

Correction, as Matthew Shugart notes in the comments, I missed the fact that the Turkish Constitutional Court had approved a referendum on the issue of the constitutional reform. As such, the seat counts are not relevant to the issue of electing the president unless the referendum fails (from the AP earlier this month):

Turkey’s top court on Thursday sided with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government and opened the way for a referendum to be held on whether the president should be elected by popular vote instead of by Parliament.

The Constitutional Court rejected a request by the president and opposition parties that reform of the presidential election system be annulled, allowing the government to press ahead with plans to hold a referendum on the issue in October.

Correction to the Correction: While there is a pending referendum and it is likely that it will pass, the next president will be chosen by the parliament. See here.

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Filed under: Elections, Europe | |

4 Comments

  1. Steven, the seat balance will not effect the election of a president. That is now up to the voters.

    If voters in October approve the referendum (just cleared by the Constitutional Court-see the link in my F&V post that you linked to yesterday), then there will be an election before the end of the year. Obviously, the big gain in AKP votes suggests it can indeed win a majority (in two rounds, if not in one) in a presidential election.

    Also, on the Kurdish issue, two comments at my thread suggest that the Kurds were pretty effective at getting representation, despite bans on their parties. Of course, they are under-represented, but they saw a substantial increase in their presence in parliament.

    Comment by MSS — Monday, July 23, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  2. I somehow managed to miss that a referendum had been approved. Thanks for the correction.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Monday, July 23, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

  3. […] More about Turkish situation here. […]

    Pingback by Turkey’s ruling AKP wins vote « Spanish Pundit — Tuesday, July 24, 2007 @ 4:46 am

  4. Turkish presidential election update & correction

    Turkey’s newly elected parliament must still attempt to elect a president, because the term of the current president has expired and thus it is not constitutionally permissible to wait for possible voter approval in October of the referendum on d…

    Trackback by Fruits and Votes — Wednesday, July 25, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

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