June 7 general elections: Turning point for Turkey?

Turkey votes to elect 550 new members of the parliament. The ruling AK Party, and three opposition parties, CHP, MHP, and HDP are the main players in the race

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

Updated Feb 12, 2016

In the Republic of Turkey a general election took place on June 7, 2015. Turkey is a parliamentary representative democracy, the head of the government is the leader of the political party that comes out victorious in the elections. This post is called the Prime Minister. A president is also elected, normally by the parliament but holds substantive reserve powers. However on the agenda for the ruling AK Party (Justice and Development Party) which which has been in power since 2002, a transition to a presidential system of governance looms at large.

A two thirds majority vote in parliament will guarantor such a change, it’s probable that one party will not have enough seats to do so alone. With this change too will come a new constitution, a move away from the current 1982 constitution written under a the coup d’état of 1980. The AK Party seems to be the likely winners of the election but will need to garner support from its major political rivals for such changes.

The major opposition party, the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) is not in favour of such radical changes to Turkey’s parliamentary system. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) too has priorities such as the national security of Turkey on the top of its agenda. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), entering the elections for the first time as a party, is campaigning to pass the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament and is largely oriented towards Kurdish nationalism and minority rights and has a socialist leaning.