ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - With less than a week before the second general elections in Turkey in five months, nearly all opinion polls indicate that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will again fail to get the parlaimentary seats needed to form a majority government.
Various opinion polls predict the AKP is unlikely to win the 276 of the parliament’s 550 seats that are required for a mandate for an absolute majority.
The AKP received 258 seats, or 41 percent of the votes, in the inconclusive June elections – an eight percent drop since the 2011 polls, in which the party won 327 seats.
The AKP’s failure to form a coalition government in 45 days after the June polls led to the early general elections set for next Sunday.
Of the 31 parties that took part in the June election, only four made it into the parliament: AKP with 40.66 percent, or 258 seats; CHP with 25.13 percent, or 132 seats; MHP with 16.45 percent, or 80 seats; and HDP with 12.96 percent, or 80 seats.
Accorrdingly, the AKP would need 18 seats more than it won in the June polls to form a majority government.
Filiz Ayden Koch, an opinion poll analyst, said that to win the extra seats it needs, the AKP will focus heavily on areas where it lost to rivals with thin margins.
“For instance, the party lost a seat in Samson to the CHP with a difference of some 1,000 votes,” Koch said, adding that AKP is now tying to gain voters from the other three parties.
But according to Kemal Ozkriyaz, who runs the Afrasia polling organization, the AKP will even lose some of the votes it had received in June.
“AKP’s votes are likely to increase in the Black Sea area and the Middle Anatolian regions, where it can take voters from the MHP,” Ozkriyaz told Rudaw. “But it will only get 40, 45 percent of the overall votes, since it will most probably lose votes in other regions,” he added.
Ozkriyaz predicts that the AKP will end up losing four more seats and receive 254 seats this time.
His prediction is shared by another expert, who suggests that 40.5 percent of the votes for the AKP is “a reasonable” outcome.
Hakan Bayrakchi, director of the Sonar polling group, predicts that the AKP is unlikely to secure more than 260 seats.
But Metropol, another polling organization, announced last week the the ruling party could win 261 seats -- or 42 percent of the votes -- which will lead to another inconclusive election result.
The run-up to the polls comes amid a war between Ankara and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), re-ignited in late July after the AKP suffered a severe setback at the polls at the hands of the pro-Kurdish HDP.
The HDP, which is widely supported by Kurdish and various leftist groups in Turkey, received 13 percent of the votes in June, becoming the first pro-Kurdish party to win the right to a seat in parliament.
Some opinion polls show a notable rise in the HDP’s popularity, especially among voters in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast, where daily clashes have taken place in and around the cities.
The HDP has said it hopes for 110 seats in parliament, or 17 percent of the 550 total.
Ozkriyaz, however, predicts that HDP will secure 87 seats, or some 14.17 percent of the votes, which will give the party a kingmaker position in forming the coming government.