Hat-trick victory for Turkey's ruling party | world | Hindustan Times
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Hat-trick victory for Turkey's ruling party

world Updated: Jun 13, 2011 23:03 IST

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the most successful Prime Minister in the history of Turkey's multiparty system after a landslide victory at the country's general election.

His centre-right Justice and Development party (AKP), in power since 2002, won 49.9% of all votes, giving it 325 seats in parliament.

The result falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to rewrite Turkey's 1982 military constitution without having to consult parliament.

The Republican People's party (CHP) came second with 25.9%. The only other party to gain seats in parliament, the Nationalist Movement party (MHP), took 13%, seemingly unaffected by a sex tape scandal that caused the resignation of 10 senior party members.

Thirty-six independent candidates, most of whom are backed by the Kurdish BDP, were also voted in, among whom was Kurdish campaigner Leyla Zana from Diyarbakir. Turnout was 84.79%.

"Erdogan wants to implement a presidential system," Gencer Ozcan, professor for international relations at Bilgi University told the Guardian.

"This is the main goal of a new constitution. This is the first time that the prime minister handpicked all AKP candidates, assuring absolute loyalty within his own party."

But the election result requires wider parliamentary consensus on a new constitution.

This comes as good news to government critics who, concerned about Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian stance, accused him of wanting to "Putinise" the country in an effort to remain in charge beyond 2015, when he would be barred from serving as prime minister again.

Speaking at a victory rally in the capital, Ankara, Erdogan adopted a conciliatory tone: "Today workers, pensioners, farmers have won. People in the villages have won. Today 74 million people have won. Today the western world, Tripoli, Gaza have won. The Middle East, the Balkans, Europe have won. Peace, justice and stability have won."