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Elections in Turkey: Erdogan Won, But Lost

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to embrace the entire nation after a sweeping victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections and said his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will seek a broad-based consensus of opposition parties and civil society groups while drafting a new constitution, reports Today’s Zaman.

According to the live update of the election results on the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review website, 99.8% of ballot boxes have been opened so far. It’s already clear that four party groups will take their place in Turkey’s new parliament: Erdogan’s AKP (who secured 49.9% of the votes), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP, 26.0%), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP, 13.0%) and independents supported by the Peace and Democracy Parliament (BDP, 5.9%).

AKP has thus far secured 325 seats in parliament; CHP, 135; MHP, 54; and independents, 36.

Representatives of the European Parliament, UK and Greece, as well as the presidents of Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have already congratulated Erdogan on his landslide victory, though these elections were more like a defeat for the Turkish PM.

Although it has seen a surge in the number of votes, the AK Party witnessed a decline in the number of seats it will have in the new parliament. The AK Party is now expected to get 326 seats in parliament, below the minimum number of 330 required to send any constitutional change to a referendum for approval and far less than the minimum number of 367 seats required to make amendments to the 1982 Constitution (without a referendum) and transform Turkey into a presidential state.

The 325 seats AKP has thus far secured is, in fact, 8 seats less than it had prior to the elections.

“Our nation assigned us to draft the new constitution. They gave us a message to build the new constitution through consensus and negotiation,” he said. “We will discuss the new constitution with opposition parties, civil society groups and academics. We will seek the broadest consensus,” Erdogan said from the balcony of the AK Party headquarters, reports Today’s Zaman.

Last year, Erdoğan’s government successfully pushed for changes to the current Constitution, drafted following a military coup in 1980. The AK Party has promised to draft a new constitution after the elections.

“We will draft a civilian, pro-freedoms, participatory constitution together,” Erdoğan said. “It will be the constitution of Turks, Kurds … the Roma … minorities.”