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Turkey's Ruling Party Regains Majority In Parliamentary Elections

Supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP), wave their party and national flags as they celebrate outside the AKP headquarters, in Istanbul.

The ruling party in Turkey swept parliamentary elections on Sunday and regained the single-party rule it lost in June.

The Justice and Development Party, also known as the AKP, "won substantially more than the 276 seats needed to win a majority, allowing it to form a government on its own," according to the BBC. The BBC adds:

"Polls had indicated the AKP would receive only between 40-43% of the vote, in line with how it fared in June, when it lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

"Attempts to form a coalition government after the June election failed."

Reporting from Istanbul, NPR's Peter Kenyon tells NPR's Newscast unit the vote is a big win for Turkey's president, AKP founder Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

"After a surprising loss of support five months ago, Erdogan called snap elections and warned voters that Turkey could see instability and unrest without a single-party government. The summer and early fall saw renewed fighting between the army and Kurdish militants, and the Islamic State was blamed for deadly suicide bomb attacks, a rarity in Turkey.

"If the unofficial results hold up, it would seem voters took Erdogan's message to heart and are returning the AKP to power on its own, avoiding a coalition government. The pro-Kurdish HDP appears to be just barely above the 10 percent threshold for claiming seats in parliament."

Peter adds the election takes place a few weeks before Turkey is set to host a G-20 economic summit.

The Guardian reports the voting took place against a backdrop of increasing tensions and violence in Turkey. The publication also said that with decisive vote, "Turkey's strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tightened his grip on power decisively." It adds:

"The result could exacerbate divisions in a country deeply polarised along both ethnic and sectarian lines; Erdoğan is adored by supporters who hail him as a transformative figure who has modernised the country, but loathed by critics who ... see him as an increasingly autocratic, even despotic leader."

The Associated Press reports, though this was a significant victory for Erdogan, his party will not get everything it had hoped from these elections.

"While Erdogan was not on the ballot, his long run of pre-eminence over Turkish politics looked set to continue. However, his party will fall short of a supermajority that he had sought in order to change Turkey's constitution and boost his presidential powers."

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