Previewing Turkey's parliamentary election: Status quo, executive presidency, or progressive new chapter?
The Turkish electorate will go to the ballot box on June 7 to elect the 550 members of the Grand National Assembly. Coming on the heels of last year’s local elections in March and Turkey’s first presidential election in August, the parliamentary elections will be the last chance for Turkish citizens to exercise their voting rights until 2019. The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is seeking a fourth consecutive term in government and is widely expected to win. Recent polls, however, point to a decline in AK Party’s voter share, suggesting that it may lose a number of seats and fail to transform Turkey’s parliamentary system of governance into an executive presidency.
This decline in AK Party’s popularity comes at a time when Turkey is suffering from faltering economic performance and feeling the brunt of flawed foreign policy calculations. To what extent will the AK Party prove itself resilient against these challenges? Will Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) finally pass the 10 percent vote threshold and begin a chapter of plurality in Turkish politics? What are the prospects of the opposition parties, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the National Action Party (MHP), increasing their voter shares?
On June 5, the Turkey Project of the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings hosted a panel discussion to assess issues central to the elections, including their possible outcomes and implications for the future of Turkish democracy and foreign policy. Brookings TÜSİAD Senior Fellow and Turkey Project Director Kemal Kirişci moderated the conversation. Panelists were Suat Kınıklıoğlu, a former member of the Turkish Parliament for AK Party; Ömer Taşpınar, a professor at the National War College; and Nora Fisher Onar, a fellow at the Transatlantic Academy.
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[Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would face a presidential run-off] with his aura of invincibility and traditional mastery over Turkish politics severely weakened [if he fails to secure outright victory on June 24 and the AKP loses its parliamentary majority].