Turkish AKP Party Gains Parliament Majority during Snap Election

November 3, 2015Turkeyby EW News Desk Team

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The AKP won over 300 seats in parliament, allowing the party to regain single rule that was lost over the summer. However, the majority parliament is not enough for President Tayyip Erdogan to change the country's constitution and amass more executive power. In response to the victory, the nation's stock index gained 5.0 percent, and the Turkish lira jumped 3.6 percent.

President Erdogan's victory fell short by 15 seats in terms of allowing him to expand the executive branch. The president has ruled for 12 years as prime minister and president, and Erdogan's victory will ease investors worried about economic stability if the AKP lost its majority status. With that, the previous government failed to form a cohesive coalition after June elections, prompting Erdogan to call for a snap election.

AKP Controversy

The AKP is also the Justice and Development Party and has been known for its religious rhetoric that has shifted Turkish society from its former secular roots. Even though many criticized Erdogan over his power consolidation and regressive social policies, proponents hail him as a reformer who has had a positive impact on the nation and economy.

Part of Erdogan's strategy included scaring voters into believing that an opposition victory meant a guarantee of economic and financial turmoil. This is nothing new, as nearly every government relies on the same fear mongering to win votes, but the election process itself has been embroiled in political killings and suppression, with critics accusing his government of anti-democratic rule and despotism.

Economy Fallout

The AKP claims to bring the country back into a stable climate, but lingering problems remain. For one thing, the lira dropped 17 percent in 2015 despite its relative pickup on the market. The International Monetary Fund notes that Turkey relies too much on international borrowing, leading to currency volatility. There is also the growth factor. The IMF projects that the economy will expand 3.1 percent in 2015 and 3.6 percent for 2016, which is well below the 9.0-percent growth seen in 2010 and 2011.

To manage the slowdown, the government has been at odds with the central bank's desire to raise interest rates, leading to higher costs for the average consumer, and the bank is afraid to come into conflict with the government. Though the government has more power, they must govern in a manner that pleases the populace, especially investors, as they are the ones fueling the economy. How the government intends to address the economy remains a question, but the AKP's track record of economic stagnation indicates that the party will have to get more creative.

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