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TRT World: Turkey's Game Changing Election

Turkey’s Electoral Threshold Turkey’s upcoming June 7th election is widely perceived as the most interesting one in the past 13 years since the incumbent AK Party first came to power. The possible entrance of the pro-Kurdish HDP to the Turkish parliament is expected to have a major impact not only in politics, but also the Turkey’s future. The dynamics of the parliament are bound to a change if the HDP exceeds Turkey’s ten percent electoral threshold. This would make the HDP a key player and allow the party to influence decision making. The possibility of the HDP entering parliament would open a new chapter in Turkey’s political scene, albeit an uncertain and complicated one. The AK Party could still form a majority government since it is thought that the party has guaranteed enough votes to gain more than 276 seats in the parliament even if HDP exceeds the threshold. However, AK Party aims to get at least 330 seats to enact the legislation needed to bring about the presidential system it wants for Turkey. If the HDP passes the threshold while other parties continue to oppose the changes, the HDP’s stance on the issue will be decisive. If the HDP fails to enter the parliament, then the number of seats controlled by the AK Party could reach as much as 350. Coalition Against AK Party The possibility of HDP overcoming the electoral threshold has also raised hopes for Turkey’s mainly idle opposition parties already in the parliament as each vote for HDP counts as one more step to distance AK Party from implementing the presidential system. The three main opposition parties with different backgrounds generally have contradictory political stances and it is very rare that they agree on a certain issue. In a recent case, HDP rally in northern province of Samsun was almost hijacked by supporters of nationalist party. However, these parties appear to have decided to unite in opposition to block the ruling AK Party from carrying out its desired change to the presidential system. But, the electorate does not favour coalition governments as they have led to severe instability in Turkey in the past. Rivalry Down to AK Party-HDP As the key factor of the election is whether the HDP will overcome the threshold or not, the main battle for votes is expected to take place in the eastern and southeastern parts of the county between the governing AK Party and HDP. The amount of votes for the HDP in the east would likely not be enough to pass the threshold but the HDP has also campaigned in the western provinces and major cities of Turkey to attract more integrated Kurds and secular voters. In addition to that, Turkey has witnessed some pro opposition columnists openly call the supporters of the CHP, to vote for HDP and help the party to pass the threshold, just to weaken the governing AK Party. The increased number of Kurds living in western part of Turkey increases the HDP’s chances of exceeding the electoral threshold. The eastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Batman, Sirnak, Hakkari and Van are where HDP collects the majority of its votes, but the party also aims to increase votes in other eastern provinces where Kurds are less affiliated with it and mostly favour conservative parties including the AK Party. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trtworld Twitter: https://twitter.com/trtworld

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