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Preliminary vote counting in Turkey’s parliamentary election has suggested that voters have rejected the ruling party’s bid to remake the constitution.
With about 80% of the vote counted, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development party, the AKP, was well ahead of other parties with just under 43%, according to state-run TRT television. But the projections gave it about 270 seats — the bare minimum to retain a simple majority in parliament.
Partial results broadcast by CNN Turk put the AKP on 42.4% of the vote, with almost 80% of ballots counted.
A senior AKP official told Reuters that initial results suggested the party may be forced to form a minority government and that an early election could be on the cards.
“We expect a minority government and early election,” the senior official said on condition of anonymity.
In a blow to the ruling party’s chances, the main Kurdish party - the Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP) - was running at over 11%, above the 10% minimum threshold for representation.
AKP received around 49% of the vote in general elections in 2011. If the current trend holds, it would be first time that the party is faced with falling short of a majority to rule alone since it swept into power in 2002.
Erdoğan was not on the ballot but the election was, in effect, a referendum on whether to give his office extraordinary powers that would significantly change Turkish democracy and prolong his reign as the country’s most powerful politician.