Turkey Count Shows AKP Short of Votes for Single-Party Rule

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Turkey’s AK Party, which has ruled the nation alone for more than 12 years, is unlikely to win enough votes to form a single-party government, raising the possibility of a coalition or early elections.

With 90 percent of the votes counted, preliminary results show the ruling party winning 259 seats, 17 short of what’s required to form a government. The results also mean the party won’t be able to deliver its key campaign promise of shifting the nation’s center of power from parliament to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

If it stands, the outcome would be a blow to the AK Party, which has dominated Turkey’s politics since coming to power in 2002. Investors had said that the possibility of a coalition government would batter the nation’s financial markets.

“For as long as I’ve been aware, we’ve been ruled by the same people,” said Alpaslan Gorgun, a 25-year-old worker in Ankara. “It’s time for a change in power.”

The results show the pro-Kurdish HDP party winning more than the 10 percent of the vote needed to enter parliament. Opposition parties led by the Republican People’s Party or CHP have based their campaigns on a pledge to revive economic growth and prevent Erdogan from consolidating his powers.

“Early election results show that AKP will bear the results of its policies, which polarized the society,” Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation in Ankara said by phone. “Kurds will be buoyed with the election result and definitely be more assertive in their demands.”

Economic Growth

While polls show AK Party will finish first, a fractious election campaign has seen the CHP focus attention on the government’s handling of the economy.

After a decade of growth averaging 5 percent, the economy has lost momentum, with unemployment at its highest level in 5 years, the currency plumbing record lows, and a spat between the government and the central bank worrying investors.

The Turkish lira depreciated 12 percent against the dollar this year, the most among 24 emerging market currencies tracked by Bloomberg after Brazil’s real.

“The people now despise Erdogan and his crowd, we’re going to say ‘stop’ to this at the ballot box now,” Sukru Altiparmak, a 57-year-old retiree, said as he voted in Ankara.