(AFP) – More than 54 million Turks are eligible to cast their votes in a snap election Sunday called following an inconclusive vote in June.
After a deadly bombing in Ankara and a resurgence in the Kurdish conflict, opinion polls suggest the vote will end with the same deadlock that in June stripped the ruling Justice and Development party of its majority for the first time in over a decade.
Coalition talks are likely to follow, but Turkey could be thrust into yet another election if parties fail to forge a workable government.
Here are the main political parties:
JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT PARTY (AKP)
Leader: Ahmet Davutoglu
Slogan: ‘They talk, the AKP acts’
Expected position: First
June election: 40.09 percent and 258 seats
The AKP remains Turkey’s dominant political force, but it fared badly in the June election and has since come under fire for alleged security lapses leading to the country’s deadliest-ever attack, in which 102 people died in massive bombings in Ankara on October 10.
Critics have blasted the AKP for not tackling the Islamic State jihadist group, for cracking down on Kurds, and for failing to boost a flagging economy.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the former prime minister and co-founder of the conservative Islamic-rooted party, is seen as increasingly authoritarian.
He is hoping the AKP will secure enough support to push through constitutional changes to give him increased presidential powers.
REPUBLICAN PEOPLE’S PARTY (CHP)
Leader: Kemal Kilicdaroglu
Slogan: ‘Give your vote, get them out’
Expected position: Second
June election: 25 percent and 132 seats
The party of modern Turkey’s secular founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the CHP has looked moribund in recent years and its former leader Deniz Baykal was sunk by a sex tape scandal.
Kilicdaroglu has taken on a “Mr Clean” image and tried to attack the AKP’s perceived extravagance, although he is far from the dynamic opposition figurehead that the CHP yearns for.
While the party’s campaign was slick, it fared worse in the June vote than in the previous election in 2011.
NATIONALIST MOVEMENT PARTY (MHP)
Leader: Devlet Bahceli
Slogan: ‘Walk with us Turkey’
Expected position: Third
June election: 16.03 percent and 80 seats
Founded in the 1960s, the MHP was long linked to the Turkish extreme right, although under Devlet Bahceli it has shifted to cultural rather than ethnic nationalism.
A new emphasis on religion brought it closer to the AKP and the two could be potential coalition partners should the ruling party again fail to win an overall majority.
But the MHP rejects the AKP’s efforts to make peace with Kurdish rebels. With a hard core of committed voters, MHP support is expected to hover between the mid to high teens.
PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (HDP)
Co-leaders: Selahattin Demirtas, Figen Yuksekdag
Slogan: ‘We’re on our way to the meclis (parliament)’
Expected position: Fourth
June election: 13.1 percent and 80 seats
The pro-Kurdish HDP was the surprise winner in the June election, making history by surpassing the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament and taking 80 seats.
The charismatic Demirtas is widely seen as the sole Turkish politician to rival Erdogan’s rhetorical skills.
The party has sought to broaden appeal beyond its natural Kurdish base in the southeast to secular Turks, women and gays.
HDP supporters and liberals were the target of the Ankara attack, as well as a deadly bombing in Suruc on the Syrian border in July, and the party has cancelled major campaign rallies.
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