Turkey’s ruling AK party have surged to a surprise victory in national elections boosting the power of President Recep Erdogan who was bruised in the polls five months ago.
With almost all votes counted the AKP had secured 49 per cent of the votes – a comfortable majority in the 550-seat parliament.
The triumph was far more decisive than polls or even party insiders predicted and reversed losses in the June elections. It marked at 8 per cent increase on the vote share in those polls.
The Turkish lira jumped on Monday morning after the results emerged.
Mr Erdogan said the outcome was a vote for stability, and a message to Kurdish insurgents in the country’s restive southeast that violence could not coexist with democracy.
Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted “Elhamdulillah” (Thanks be to god). “Today is a victory for our democracy and our people… Hopefully we will serve you well for the next four years and stand in front of you once again in 2019,” he said.
In June, the AKP had lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002. The party, co-founded by Mr Erdogan, managed only 258 seats. To win a majority, a party must win 276 seats in the national assembly.
A woman votes in Turkey
The pro-Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which became the first of its kind to pass the 10 per cent threshold to enter parliament, narrowly maintained a qualifying level of support – with almost all votes counted the party led by Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, had a vote share of 10.7 per cent.
Mr Erdogan had presented Sunday’s polls as a chance to restore stability at a time of tension over Kurdish insurrection and after two bombings which have been attributed to Islamic State.
However critics fear the president’s renewed mandate will lead to a drift to authoritarianism.