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Turkey Election: Pro-Kurdish HDP Party Makes it into Parliament

  • People celebrate on the roof of a car outside the headquarters of Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP opposition party in Diyarbakir, Turkey, Nov. 1, 2015.

    People celebrate on the roof of a car outside the headquarters of Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP opposition party in Diyarbakir, Turkey, Nov. 1, 2015. | Photo: REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Published 1 November 2015

The vote is the second in five months, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party lost in June the governing majority it has enjoyed since first coming to power in 2002.

With nearly 93 percent of the votes counted in Turkey’s snap parliamentary elections, the pro-Kurdish HDP had achieved 10.32 percent of the popular vote, enough to remain in parliament. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s AK Party won 49.63 percent of votes and acquired enough seats to retain a majority in Parliament.

Polls closed across Turkey at 5 p.m., local time. The ballot count is still underway.

As vote results were released, clashes erupted in Turkey’s Kurdish center in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. Turkish security forces responded to protesters with tear gas, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, HDP supporters celebrated outside the headquarters of the party.

Voter turnout was high in the country’s second election in five months, with almost 90 percent participation. Some predicted that an increase in voter participation compared to the June elections could hurt AKP’s results, but the party seems to be on the way to forming a majority government. 

HDP will likely enter the assembly, with preliminary results showing the party has surpassed the 10 percent threshhold required. In June, HDP secured 13 percent of the vote, gaining 80 seats in the assembly and ending 12 years of single party rule by the AKP.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş expressed hope in the elections.

RELATED: Why Turkey's Ruling Party Wants Elections Twice in a Year

“I hope that the political results of this election will be the most beneficial for all of us. All of the country desires comfort and peace most,” the party leader said according to Hurriyet. “It was a tough and troubled campaign period. Unfortunately we also have lost lives.”

Prime Minister Davutoğlu also urged Turks to cast their ballots in what he likened to “a democracy festival” in the country.

“Once again, we are now heading to the polls in tranquility,” said Davutoğlu, projecting high participation rates.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu cast his vote in his hometown in Konya province. I Photo: Reuters

Many see the snap elections as an attempt by the ruling AKP to regain its majority in parliament. To do that, it will need at least 276 seats in the assembly.

HDP’s entrance into the assembly could mean the start of more coalition talks if the ruling AKP does not win a majority.

RELATED INTERVIEW: Asena Günal Explains Why Turkey Elections Matter

While observers reported a peaceful day of voting, one incident at a polling station in the Kocaeli province east of Istanbul resulted in police using teargas to break up a dispute between AKP and HDP supporters.

The elections come amid the worst violence the country has faced in at least a decade, with the government involved in two military operations, one against the Kurdish guerrilla group PKK in Turkey and Northern Iraq, and another against the Islamic State group in Syria.

RELATED: In Depth: Turbulence in Turkey

After the last elections in June, the nation was rocked by two deadly suicide bombings that killed over 130 people. Both were blamed on the Islamic State group.

Watch The World Today - The Turkish Cauldron

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