ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Four parties will dominate Turkey’s 550-seat parliament following Sunday’s elections. Here is a sketch of each political force.
JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT PARTY
Conservative and Islamic. Has governed Turkey since 2002. Founded the previous year by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, long an increasingly autocratic prime minister and now, since 2014, Turkey’s president.
A “big tent” party that seeks support from liberals, Islamists and nationalists. Has curtailed influence of the traditionally powerful military, overseen economic growth at times, and put the country on the path to possible European Union membership.
Has lost liberal support and EU membership momentum as Erdogan used police to suppress protests, curbed free speech, sought controls on Internet communications, Islamized schools.
Erdogan has maintained de-facto control of the party and government despite becoming the ceremonial head of state, but is tainted by scandals involving lavish expenditure, including on a 1,150-room presidential palace.
Won 258 seats with 41 percent of votes, down 69 seats and 9 points.
REPUBLICAN PEOPLE’S PARTY
Center-left and staunchly secular. The party founded modern Turkey in 1923 under its first leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Its commitment to keep Muslim influences out of government has cost it votes. In hopes of broadening support its current leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 66, has purged the most pro-secular voices and dropped opposition to the public wearing of Muslim headscarves.
Campaigned on promises to strengthen Turkey’s economy, raise wages and end poverty.
Won 132 seats with 25 percent support, down three seats and 1 point.
NATIONALIST MOVEMENT PARTY
Right-wing and nationalist.
Former economics professor Devlet Bahceli, 67, has led party since 1997 and served as deputy premier from 1999 to 2002.
Past generations of party supporters were ultranationalists involved in 1970s riots that triggered a 1980 military coup. Bahceli purged members linked to violence.
Shares much ideologically with Erdogan but bitterly disagrees with his flexible approach to peace talks with Kurdish militants. Still viewed as the most likely coalition partner in the next government.
Won 80 seats with 16 percent of votes, up 27 seats and 3 points.
PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY
New force in parliament and the primary voice for Turkey’s 20 percent Kurdish minority.
Left wing, with strong support from women and gays. Charismatic leader Selahattin Demirtas, 42, has built party appeal across ethnic lines.
Party campaigns to boost rights of women and minority groups. It seeks equality for all religions in the majority Sunni Muslim country. Wants mandatory religion classes in schools abolished.
Won 80 seats with 13 percent of votes, double its support when members ran as independents in 2011.
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