Turkey’s ruling party wins snap elections

Ankara: Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won back parliamentary majority in Sunday’ s elections, paving way for it to form the next government on its own, according to the preliminary results based on 98 percent of votes counted.

The AKP gained nearly 49 percent of the votes, and received 315 seats in the 550-member parliament, securing parliament majority as 98 percent of ballots are counted, according to semi-official Anadolu Agency.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared AKP victory in his initial statement after the polls.

“Today is a day of victory. This victory is not ours. It’s the nation’s victory,” Davutoglu said addressing his supporters in Konya province of central Turkey.

“Hopefully we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019,” he said, adding that they would build a “new Turkey”.

According to initial results, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) won 25,45 percent, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) shows a sharp decrease in its votes with some 11,97 percent. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) secured 10,63 percent of votes.

The early elections were the second in five months, after the AKP lost the single-party governing majority in June 7 elections with 40.87 percent of the votes and failed to form a coalition government.

“This election was necessitated as a result of the instable outcome of the June 7 elections. It has become apparent how important stability is to our nation,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after casting his vote in Istanbul on Sunday.

Some 385,000 security officers were deployed during the elections, as the government kept the security high in the Kurdish majority southeast provinces.

Sunday’s polling was carried out following renewed clashes between outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state, as well as a wave of jihadist attacks which have left several hundred people dead since July.

No incidents of violence were reported by mid-afternoon Sunday. The AKP district head, Halit Toktas, was detained at a polling station in eastern Van province after quarreling with election observers from the HDP.

Police used tear gas to disperse a quarrel between supporters of the AKP and the HDP at a polling station in western Kocaeli province.

An election observer from the HDP was detained in the southeastern Gaziantep province for “interrupting election security”.