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Erdogan Makes Landmark Victory

In an election victory speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the winner of the election was democracy and all of Turkey’s 81 million citizens.

“The victor of the elections is democracy. The victor of the elections is national will. The victors of the election are 81 million Turkish citizens…. and all oppressed people,” Erdogan told his supporters from the balcony of his governing AK Party’s headquarters in Ankara.

Earlier in Istanbul, Erdogan told reporters: “Our nation has given me the duty of the presidency and executive power.” He underlined that ballot security and the freedom to vote were an expression of Turkish democracy’s power.

“Turkey has given lessons in democracy to the world with its almost 90 percent voter turnout,” he added.

His remarks came after the results for the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, with 98 percent of the votes counted, showed incumbent president and head of the governing AK Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan won election with 52.5 per cent of the vote. As the first popularly elected president of Turkey, he secured another 5 years in power.

Erdogan was the candidate of the People’s Alliance. The alliance consists of three parties: The AK Party, the MHP and the BBP.

The results for the other presidential candidates: Muharrem Ince took 30.7 percent of the votes, HDP’s Selahattin Demirtas received 8.3 percent, Iyi Party’s Meral Aksener 7.4 per cent, SP’s Temel Karamollaoglu 0.9 percent, and Vatan Party’s Dogu Perincek got 0.2 percent of the vote.

People’s Alliance wins majority in parliament

Erdogan and his AK Party emerged victorious in Turkey’s elections, the party attracted 42.4 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections. The MHP managed 11.2 per cent.

With those percentages, the People’s Alliance secured 342 seats in the 600-seat parliament, and gained legislative power without requiring support from other parties.

AK Party itself won 42.4 per cent of the votes and secured 293 seats in the parliament.

The Nation’s Alliance, which includes the main opposition CHP and three small parties; Iyi Party, Saadet Party and the Demokrat Party, on the other hand, received 34,2 per cent of the vote and secured 191 seats in parliament.

HDP, a political party which was not included in any of the electoral alliances and ran in the elections on an independent ticket, got 11.5 percent of the votes, securing 67 seats in the parliament. How the HDP would fare was one of the biggest topics of debate in the run up to the June 24 elections. First time in its history, the HDP passed the electoral threshold in the 2015 elections.

Kurdish votes were predominantly split between the Justice and Development (AK) Party and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the eastern and southeastern cities, which have the most Kurds in Turkey.

Some members of the HDP were banned from politics on charges of having links with the outlawed PKK. Also its former chairman and presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, is in jail on accusation of having links with the terror group.

More than 59 million Turks, both domestic and abroad, were eligible to vote in Sunday’s elections in one of about 180,000 polling stations across the country. Close to three million Turkish nationals around the world were eligible to vote and according to initial reports, a large number of them have cast their ballots.

The turnout in total was 87 per cent.

1,650,171 people became eligible to vote for the first time in these elections.

What is next?

Turkey adopted a presidential system of governance in a referendum that took place on April 16, 2017; the system comes into force with the elections on June 24.

The power of Turkey’s executive branch had been previously shared between a head of state and a head of government in the former system. Now, Turkey will have a president as head of the legislative and executive branches.

The president can enact certain laws by decrees on issues pertaining to the executive area under the new system, leaving the regulation of basic rights and duties to the legislative branch.

But a presidential decree cannot be issued on topics that are regulated by law.

If the parliament and the president issue laws or decrees on the same topic, the presidential decree becomes void.

The annual state budget, previously set by the parliament, is now drafted by the president. However, it must be approved by parliament.

These changes not expected to lead to any disputes since Erdogan’s AK Party and its partner MHP have the majority of seats in parliament.

The parliament – with the votes of at least 360 MPs – and also the president can call for re-elections, which must include both parliamentary and presidential elections on the same day.

With the People’s Alliance having 342 seats, Turkey will see fast decision taking processes especially on issues regarding the economy and foreign policy, since they will have more power.

That has been the case since the AK Party aligned with the once-opposition MHP in late 2015. And Erdogan explained this was the reason to change the system in a TV interview on June 21.

“The sluggishness of the structures [under the current system], which I constantly call ‘bureaucratic oligarchy’, the operations and processes in the institutions stand in our way,” Erdogan said.

“We aim to clear the way with the presidential system of government.”

Opposition parties, on the other hand, did not win enough seats to stop a bill from being enacted into law in parliament. They will, however, be able to attend parliamentary inquiries, general debates and parliamentary investigations.

A motion for initiating an investigation of the president on allegations of a crime must be given with an absolute majority of parliament members. In case an investigation is opened, the investigation is carried out by a 15-member committee comprising political parties in the parliament in proportion to their power. The parliament can take the decision to send the president to the Supreme Court with two-thirds of its members’ secret votes. A president’s term ends if they are convicted of a crime, according to the conditions of presidential eligibility.

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