The performance of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will be key to the outcome of Turkey’s general elections on Sunday. Depending on how well it does, the country could see significant changes in the way it is governed and conducts itself abroad.
￼The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential democracy, giving Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the former prime minister and longtime party leader, executive powers. To do this, it needs a 367-seat (two-thirds) majority in parliament to amend the constitution. Should the AKP lose that majority but still attain between 330 and 366 votes, it could force a referendum on the issue.
The most likely scenario is that the AKP will succeed in winning at least enough seats to call a referendum, and definitely enough seats to form the next government.
If the HDP clears the 10 percent election threshold, however, it could deny the AKP the power to change the constitution, argues Wikistrat’s Dr. Akin Unver in this report. A recent crowdsourced simulation about the elections saw this as a medium-probability scenario; less likely than the aforementioned AKP victory, but more likely than an AKP landslide.
A strong showing for the HDP would not only deny the AKP the chance to change Turkey’s democracy; it would probably stop it winning a majority, forcing it into a coalition.
Such an outcome would have foreign-policy implications as well. Without strong parliamentary support for an assertive policy in the region, Turkey is more likely to return to the long-term trajectory set by its security institutions (e.g., the military and intelligence), which means a more pro-NATO and pro-Western orientation in general.
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