The 2015 parliamentary elections

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published 08.06.2015 01:02
Updated 20.08.2015 10:13
The 2015 parliamentary elections

The 2015 Turkish parliamentary elections, where 20 political parties and dozens of independent candidates competed over 550 legislative seats, took place on Sunday. According to unofficial results, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) received 40.9 percent of the votes to clinch its 11th consecutive victory since 2002, while failing to secure the necessary amount of deputies to form a single-party government.

Anyone who followed Sunday's election would agree that Turkey remains the most prominent and stable democracy in the Middle East. The legacy of free and fair elections in the country dates back to 1950, when the Democratic Party (DP) won a landslide victory against the Republic's founding elites. Over the past decades, Turkish democracy survived a number of military coups, executions and assassinations to reach a certain equilibrium that allows political representation and stability to co-exist.

Although a number of media outlets and observers had unjustly claimed that Turkish elections were unfair, yesterday's results proved yet again how stable and prominent the country's democracy remains. Elections, the results established after all, are what Turkey does best. At the same time, the 25th Parliament came to represent over 95 percent of all voters – a historic high. Regardless of the outcome, there is one lesson to be learned from the contest: There is no other way to win elections in Turkey but to work hard and run a great campaign to earn victory.

In the wake of yesterday's election, the AK Party leadership and their supporters have every reason to rejoice and take pride in their accomplishments: Having been in power for almost 13 years and undergoing a leadership change less than a year ago, the party has been able to clinch yet another election victory by a large margin. Similarly, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have significantly increased their share of the vote compared to the 2011 general election. The Republican People's Party (CHP), meanwhile, has failed not only to meet its targets but also to make its mark on the campaign.

The period ahead is absolutely critical for the country. The distribution of legislative seats makes it rather difficult for a new government to be formed. Either the AK Party will join forces with one of the three parties or a tripartite coalition government will be formed within 45 days. Either scenario, to be clear, seems like a remote possibility.

To make matters worse, any government would not necessarily be better than no government: The country will need to have a strong, unified force in Parliament while tackling critical issues including the drafting of a new constitution. It remains to be seen how individual parties will behave, but there is nothing to suggest that the next Parliament can pull through challenging times.

As Daily Sabah, we applaud all political parties for doing their best to receive the maximum amount of votes possible in yesterday's elections. Millions of voters who went to the polls, similarly, deserve credit for celebrating Turkey's democratic heritage.

However, it is no secret that the current composition of the Parliament is a recipe for disaster. A tripartite coalition will simply fail to agree on the most fundamental issues, while a coalition government featuring the AK Party and another movement will probably pronounce the death of certain key initiatives. Yesterday's election, to summarize, has not given rise to a new government but a delicate balance of power that will have to change one way or another. As a country looking for a brighter future and an alternative to its old ways, Turkey simply cannot afford to waste its energy and resources to a political tug of war between the Justice and Development Party and opposition parties.

As such, we categorically oppose the formation of a coalition government and urge all political parties to push for another parliamentary contest in order to reach a lasting and stable political equilibrium.

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