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Turkish ruling party aims record vote in June elections

10 February 2011 [11:33] - TODAY.AZ
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which is ready to submit a proposal to Parliament to hold this year's elections on June 12, aims to win 58 percent of the national vote in the elections.

The government plans to submit a draft bill that proposes to hold the elections on June 12 to Parliament next week. The elections would normally be held in July, as they were four years ago, but the AK Party wanted an earlier date before schools go on summer vacation. The Supreme Election Board (YSK) reportedly does not oppose the AK Party's proposal.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency yesterday, AK Party İstanbul deputy Mustafa Ataş, who also heads the party's Election Coordination Center (SKM), said the party hopes to receive more votes than it received in the past two elections. "We certainly believe that the AK Party will come to power as a strong single-party again. We do not have any doubts. We expect that we will win more votes than we did in the past. My target is 58 percent," he said.

In the last election in 2007, the AK Party, which was first elected in 2002, won 46.6 percent of the vote. The party, which perceives the results of the Sept. 12 referendum as a base, aims to win at least 50 percent of the national vote in this year's elections. A constitutional reform package proposed by the ruling party was able to receive the support of 58 percent of the nation in the Sept. 12 referendum last year, which gave the ruling party some hope for increasing its votes in the election as well.

Ataş also recalled the referendum results and said 58 percent of the nation said "yes" for Turkey's democratization. "We can get the votes of this 58 percent now as well. This group, of course, includes supporters of the Republican People's Party [CHP], the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP], the Felicity Party [SP] and the Grand Unity Party [BBP]. I think we can win the votes of this group again. I am not talking about a dream. We can do that," he said. Sources say Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also set at least 50 percent of the national vote as the AK Party's election target.

Twenty-four parties are expected to run in the June elections. The Turkey Party (TP), the Voice of the People Party (HAS Party), the Nationalist and Conservative Party (MMP), the Equality and Democracy Party (EDP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) -- which was founded after its predecessor, the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was shut down in late 2009 -- are the parties that will run in the elections for the first time. The BBP and the Democratic Left Party (DSP), which did not run in the past elections and will face closure if they do not run in the elections again, according to the Law on Political Parties, will also run in the elections. The Democrat Party (DP) and the CHP hope to gain the support of the nation with new leaders. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu replaced Deniz Baykal last year, while Namık Kemal Zeybek ascended to the leadership of the DP earlier this year.

Row over election date

There are claims that a group of deputies who have few hopes that they will be nominated as deputy candidates again will take the initiative to open the election date to debate.

According to the changes approved in the Oct. 21, 2007 referendum, parliamentary elections are to be held once every four years instead of every five. However, these deputies argue that they were elected before the approval of the referendum and that they should remain in the office until July 2012.

These deputies are expected to take action after the parties' deputy candidate lists are finalized. There are claims that two CHP deputies, who have no hope of being nominated as deputies again by CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, are leading this group. According to behind the scenes talks, at least 300 deputies who currently serve in Parliament will not be included in the new lists. Almost 75 percent of the Turkish Parliament is revamped after every election.

/World Bulletin/

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