ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002
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|Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi (T.B.M.M)|
|3 November 2002|
|Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament following the premature dissolution of this body in July 2002. General elections had previously been held in April 1999.|
|In July 2002, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit faced the resignations of key ministerial allies as well as mass defections of legislators from the ruling coalition. During that month, 59 deputies left the Prime Minister's Democratic Left Party (DSP), leaving the coalition government with 275 seats in the 550-seat parliament. Despite Mr Ecevit's efforts to hold the ruling coalition together, the Grand National Assembly on 31 July 2002 voted overwhelmingly to hold elections in November 2002, almost 18 months ahead of schedule.
The ruling coalition (composed of the DSP, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the Motherland Party) was split over the human rights and economic reforms needed for Turkey to meet the Copenhagen criteria in order to bring the country closer to entering the European Union. As proof of its commitment to achieving compliance with the criteria, in August 2002, the outgoing Parliament adopted 14 new laws, including the abolition of the death penalty except in times of war, and the lifting of the ban on Kurdish-language education and broadcasting. The MHP was the sole party in the outgoing legislature that voted against the new laws in Parliament.
Chief among the electoral campaign issues were economic concerns, political instability and accession to the EU. Ankara hoped to persuade the EU to announce, by the end of 2002, a date for the start of formal accession talks. Competing for the 550 seats at stake were more than 20 parties. A new party, the New Turkey Party, was created ahead of the elections and was primarily composed of the parliamentary deputies who had quit the DSP. The pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) led in the election polls. However, on 27 September 2002, the Supreme Election Board barred its leader, former Istanbul mayor, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from running in the election on grounds of inciting religious hatred. He had been convicted in 1998 of reciting a poem that the courts said incited religious hatred. Following the country's election rules, which bar people with criminal records from standing for elections, he could therefore not run for a parliamentary seat or become prime minister.
All three parties of the outgoing coalition failed to win any seat in Parliament. The AKP won a landslide victory, paving the way for a single party to form a government for the first time in 15 years, as it won 361 seats. The Republican People's Party (CHP), the party founded by Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, that had failed to win any seats in the previous elections in 1999, obtained 178 seats. In all, 500 of the members of the new Parliament are newcomers.
On 14 November 2002, the newly elected deputies gathered for the first session of Parliament. Mr Abdullah Gul, the deputy leader of the AKP, was appointed the new Prime Minister by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on 16 November 2002 and three days later, the Parliament elected Mr Bulent Arinc as its Speaker.
|Round no 1 (3 November 2002): Elections results|
|Number of registered electors||41 452 823|
|Voters||31 892 117 (77 %)|
|Blank or invalid ballot papers||1 241 832|
|Valid votes||30 650 285|
|Round no 1: Distribution of votes|
|Justice and Development Party (AKP)||10 472 924||34.17|
|Republican People's Party (CHP)||5 977 282||19.50|
|Democratic Left Party (DSP)||377 829||377 829|
|Motherland Party (ANAP)||1 575 715||5.14|
|Round no 1: Distribution of seats|
|Justice and Development Party (AKP)||361||n.a.|
|Republican People's Party (CHP)||179||+179|
|Democratic Left Party (DSP)||0||-136|
|Motherland Party (ANAP)||0||-86|
|Distribution of seats according to sex:|
|Percent of women:||4.36|
Copyright © 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union