Turkey's ruling party faces multiple tasks after landslide electoral victory

14:43, June 14, 2011      

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Supporters of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) celebrate in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 12, 2011. (Xinhua/Ma Yan)

After winning nearly half of national votes on Sunday, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) faces multiple challenges in its third straight term in office.

Unofficial results of Sunday's parliamentary elections gave the AKP a showing of 49.9 percent of votes, or 326 of the 550 parliamentary seats, the party's biggest electoral victory in terms of share of votes since it came into power in 2002.

Analysts attributed the AKP's election victory to its economic track record and a weak opposition camp, saying the party will be tested by the tasks of sustaining economic growth and making a new constitution, a major target set by its leader Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sinan Ulgen, chairman of Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, told Xinhua on Monday a variety of social and poverty alleviation programs, including improvement in health services and better availability of affordable housing, helped maintain the AKP's popularity.

The AKP took office just after an economic crisis struck Turkey and resulted in a feeble currency and high inflation. Under its rule, Turkey became the world's 17th largest economy with its economy and emerged from the global recession with a strong 8.9 percent growth last year.

During his election campaign, Erdogan promised to carry Turkey' s economy into the world's top 10 by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

Ulgen said another reason behind AKP's strong vote related to " the ineffectiveness of the opposition," noting that the opposition parties were unable to present to the Turkish electorate a credible alternative.

Sunday's election results placed the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) well behind the AKP with about 25.9 percent of votes, but it was higher than 20.7 percent in last elections and its best result in more than 30 years.

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who replaced sex scandal-stained former chairman Deniz Baykal last year, said Sunday "the CHP is much stronger today."

"Having adopted a more politically liberal rhetoric following the change in leadership last year, CHP is now expected to play a more constructive role in the drafting of the new constitution," said Ulgen.

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