Turkey: Erdogan re-elected for a third term
June 12, 2011
On 12 June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected for a third term, the first leader in the country's history to achieve such a result. Erdogan's ruling conservative party (AKP, Justice and Development Party) won 50% of the votes, while the main opposition party (CHP, Republican People's Party) obtained some 26% of voter support. The AKP secured 326 seats, slightly less than the 330 required for the absolute majority, and will therefore, need to achieve a consensus with other parties in order to rewrite Turkey's constitution, which was established by generals following a military coup in 1980. As part of the reforms, Erdogan plans to change the current parliamentary system and adopt a presidential style, a proposal that opposition parties have rejected. The result was welcomed by analysts, who hope for market-friendly policies and anticipate a greater focus on economic matters, as lawmakers shift their interest from the consensus building required for constitutional reform. Just a day after the elections, on 13 June, Fitch ratings announced that a possible upgrade of Turkey's sovereign rating would depend on ?securing sustainable growth consistent with macroeconomic stability.? Amongst the many challenges the government faces on the economic front is a widening current account deficit that threatens to become unsustainable. In the political arena, political unrest in neighbouring Syria as well as stalled EU membership talks are putting Turkey's diplomatic skills to the test.