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Laying the Cornerstone for a New Turkey: The June 24 Elections

On June 24, 2018, with a participation rate of more than 85 percent, Turkey elected its President and parliamentarians. While determining Turkey’s political fate, the elections were also of significant importance as they allowed for the final step of the transition to the new presidential governance system that was accepted with the April 16, 2017 referendum. This commentary aims to provide an analysis of the period from the referendum to the June 24, 2018 elections. After providing the main reasons that led to snap elections, the commentary analyses the electoral campaign strategies and the election results.

Laying the Cornerstone for a New Turkey The June 24
President Erdoğan greets the crowd from the balcony of the ruling AK Party’s headquarters following his election success in presidential and parliamentary elections on June 25, 2018. KAYHAN ÖZER / AA Photo

Introduction

On June 24, 2018, with a participation rate of 86.24 percent in parliamentary and 86.22 percent in presidential elections –a level that has not been reached by many western democracies– Turkey elected its President and parliamentarians. The winners of this election were Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AK Party). Thus, by obtaining 52.5 percent of the vote, Erdoğan became the first President under the new system, while the AK Party received 42.6 percent of the vote and obtained 295 seats in the parliament. Under the leadership of Erdoğan, apart from becoming the party that gained the most votes in the election, by forming the People’s Alliance (Cumhur İttifakı) with the Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP), the AK Party laid the way for a strong parliamentary coalition. As such, after the June 24 elections, the People’s Alliance took its place in the legislature with a total of 344 Members of Parliament (MP) forming a substantial majority. Formed in opposition to the People’s Alliance, the Nation Alliance (Millet İttifakı), composed of the Republican People’s Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP), İyi Party and Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi) failed to reach its aims. Within this framework, as the participants of this alliance, the CHP received 22.6 percent of the vote and 146 MPs while the İyi Party received 9.96 percent of the vote and 43 MPs. The Felicity Party only received 1.4 percent of the vote and thus failed to elect any MPs, however, the party had put two of its candidates into CHP lists and they were therefore elected to parliament. Also, by supporting the Nation Alliance from out with, the political representatives of the PKK –the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with the help of the CHP, received 11.7 percent of the vote and obtained 67 MPs.

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