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  • July, 2018
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He would have to cooperate with a diverse parliament to cope with the challenges in the country. He has ruled for 15 years

The results of recent election in Turkey have given a jolt to the western media and the ilk. For the first time in Turkish history, the world saw a remarkable turnout to the tune of 87% which led to the victory of  Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Contrary to the beliefs of political pundits, the strong opposition could do no harm no harm to the Tayyip Erdogan's vote bank. Now the political pundits predicts that unless Erdogan addresses Turkey's mounting domestic and foreign policy problems, he and his party will be vulnerable at the local elections in March 2019. It is said that he would have to cooperate with a diverse parliament to cope with the challenges in the country. He has ruled for 15 years.

Surprisingly, Erdogan got an outright victory by receiving 52.5 percent of the vote - quite against the opinion polls. The opposition candidate Muharrem Ince could receive 30.6 percent. However, Erdogan's AKP (Justice and Development Party) fell short of expectations with 42.5 percent of the vote, regressing by more than 7 points since November 2015. This would grant 295 seats for the AKP in the parliament, short of the 301 needed for a majority. AKP's ally the MHP (Nationalist Action Party) received 11.1 percent of the vote and obtained 49 seats in parliament, compensating somewhat for AKP's poor performance. The Kurdish prone party titled HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) could get 11.7 percent of the vote  which would allow it 67 seats in the parliament. The results were a blow to Ince and his Republican People's Party, known as the CHP, who ran a spirited campaign that threatened to force Erdogan into a damaging runoff and deny his party control of parliament.

Parliamentary elections were held to elect 600 Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Presidential elections took place to elect the President of Turkey using a two-round system. The Turkish presidential election of 2018 took place on 24 June 2018 as part of the 2018 general election, alongside parliamentary elections on the same day. Following the approval of constitutional changes in a referendum held in 2017, the elected President will be both the head of state and head of government of Turkey, taking over the latter role from the to-be-abolished office of the Prime Minister.

The election was originally scheduled for November 2019. Despite insistence from the government that they would not be brought forward, speculation over an early vote continued since the 2017 referendum. After calls from Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli for a snap election, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on 18 April 2018 that it would take place on 24 June.

Prior to election a short but intense campaign took place. At present Turkey is under the emergency rule which is in effect after the July 2016 coup attempt. While the outgoing prime minister proudly announced that the election was transparent enough to be a model for other countries, the atmosphere was hardly conducive to a level playing field, considering the opposition's limited access to the media and state resources. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which has monitored elections in Turkey, has reported irregularities in past elections, and expressed similar concern ahead of this vote. It will be interesting to see if the new parliament might address these problems and take action to ensure that Turkey's next elections are, in fact, free and fair.

During the campaign, opposition candidates were vocal about their intention to end emergency rule, forcing both Erdogan and his Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to entertain the idea as well. Lifting it could end many people's detentions, including Selahattin Demirtas, the presidential candidate from HDP who ran his campaign from behind bars, as well as many academics, journalists, and university students being held on spurious terrorism charges. It would also bring about a climate of reconciliation.

It would be appropriate to mention here that the referendum 2017 brought a major change in Turkey by replacing parliamentary system to an executive presidential system.  Now the Grand National Assembly is no longer authorized to appoint the country's prime minister and cabinet after the 2018 elections. The office of the Prime Minister of Turkey is set to be abolished altogether, cabinet ministers will primarily serve at the pleasure of the President of Turkey, who is to fill the role of both head of state and head of government.

Despite sweeping victory in presidential elections, the new composition in parliament is somewhat less favorable to E...

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