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Asia-Pacific

Erdogan's AKP wins election but lacks seats for constitution changes

media Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledges supporters' cheets Thủ tướng Erdogna vẫy tay chào các ủng hộ viên trong đêm chiến thắng 12/6/2011. Reuters

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored its highest vote yet in Sunday’s general election but failed to win the number of seats it needed to reform the constitution alone.

Reelected Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to rule by consensus after the party was returned to power for the third time.

Final results showed:

AKP ( Justice and Develoment Party - democratic Islamist) 49.9 per cent, 326 seats;
CHP (Republican People’s Party - secular nationalist) 25.9 per cent, 135 seats;
MHP (Nationalist Action Party – right-wing secular) 13 per cent, 53 seats;
Pro-Kurd independents 36 seats.

But the AKP needs at least 330 seats in the 550-member assembly to unilaterally amend the constitution and put it to a referendum.

Erdogan has pledged a more liberal constitution but given no details of his plans, prompting speculation that he wishes to strengthen the presidency.

His main secularist opponents the Republican People’s Party (CHP), under new leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, accused him of turning Turkey into a “police state”. It pointed to Erdogan’s alleged autocratic tendencies, the jailing of journalists and an outbreak of compromising wiretaps and videos of opposition figures, which forced the CHP to change its leader and 10 opposition MHP candidates to drop out of the election race.

The AKP will now probably have to win the backing of Kurdish-backed independents for constitutional amendments, meaning that it will probably have to make concessions towards more self-rule in the Kurdish-majority east of the country.

Israel on Monday called on the incoming government to prevent a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists who plan to leave for Gaza this month, in a repeat of their failed attempt in May 2010.

But such a move seems unlikely. Addressing thousands of supporters in Ankara on Sunday, Erdogan declared, “Gaza, Palestina and Jerusalem have also won.”

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