Critical Elections Behind, Critical Problems Ahead
The June 12 elections in Turkey were important for many reasons. To begin with, the major opposition party had changed its leader, and the new leadership chose a strategy of persuading the voters. Next, there was great anxiety that the Nationalist Action Party might fail to go over the 10 percent national electoral threshold at the polls. Further, there were concerns that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would obtain a sufficient number of seats to change the constitution by itself. But the election in itself was uneventful. One major outcome was the virtual elimination of small parties that were at one time “grand.” The outcome also shows that the general direction in which the major opposition party has been transforming itself has been paying off. The success of the Peace and Democracy Party with its independent candidates has reinforced its claim to be the spokesman of Kurdish aspirations. The major concern that the AKP might get a sufficient number of seats to change the constitution by itself has not materialized. In all likelihood, the burden of making a new constitution will fall on the shoulders of the AKP and the Republican People’s Party.