Turkey's ruling party won a third term in parliamentary elections yesterday, setting the stage for the rising regional power to pursue economic growth, assertive diplomacy and an overhaul of the military-era constitution. But the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fell short of a two-thirds majority in parliament, a shortcoming that will force it to seek support for constitutional change from other political groups.
Despite a record of democratic reform, the government has faced increasing criticism that it has sought to consolidate power at the expense of consensus-building. Mr Erdogan sought to allay those concerns in his victory speech, delivered from the balcony of the ruling party headquarters to thousands of ecstatic supporters in Ankara. "We will be humble," said Mr Erdogan, who pledged to start work on a new constitution. "We will be seeking consensus with the main opposition, the opposition, parties outside of parliament, the media, NGOs, with academics, with anyone who has something to say."
Mr Erdogan's party won 50 per cent of the votes, according to state-run television. It said the Republican People's Party, the main opposition group, had 26 per cent of the vote.
The ruling party won 325 seats in the 550-seat parliament, a comfortable majority that ensures the continuation of its single-party rule.