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Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi (T.B.M.M) (Grand National Assembly of Turkey)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi (T.B.M.M) / Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 22 July 2007
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey following the adoption on 3 May 2007 of a motion by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that called for early general elections to be held. General elections had previously been taken place in November 2002.
The July 2007 elections were triggered when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan nominated Foreign Minister Mr. Abdullah Gül for the presidency of the country. The AKP formed by members of Turkey's Islamic movement in 2001 had won a landslide victory in the previous elections held in November 2002 taking 361 of the 550 seats in parliament. The secular Republican People's Party (CHP which took 179 seats in 2002) led by former foreign minister Mr. Deniz Baykal vehemently rejected Mr. Gül's candidature. It subsequently boycotted parliament to prevent it from meeting the two-thirds quorum. Following a stalemate both sides agreed to call early elections for 22 July four months earlier than the constitutional due date.

A total of 14 parties and 7 395 candidates ran in the 2007 elections.

Prime Minister Erdogan's AKP pledged to work for national unity and respect the country's secular constitution. He called on voters' support for pursuing the economic growth and the lower inflation rate achieved under his government. He promised to continue efforts to accede to the European Union (EU).

The CHP accused the AKP of undermining the country's secular system. It presented a manifesto including anti-terrorist measures and education reform although these issues were pushed into the background during the electoral campaign. The centre-left Democratic Left Party (DSP) led by Mr. Zeki Sezer formed an electoral coalition with the CHP whereby DSP candidates ran under the CHP banner.

The right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) led by Mr. Devlet Bahceli criticized the AKP's bid to join the EU. It accused the government of not being tough enough on Kurdish separatist groups and called for a military incursion into northern Iraq to fight these Kurdish groups reportedly based there. Prior to the 2002 elections the MHP had been part of a DSP-led coalition government but had failed to win any seats in 2002.

The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) led by Mr. Ahmet Türk backed a number of independent candidates. They included a lawyer who used to represent Mr. Abdullah Ocalan the jailed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader; and a female inmate who campaigned from prison while awaiting trial on charges of separatism.

A total of 84.16 per cent of the country's 42.5 million registered voters turned out at the polls.

Prime Minister Erdogan's AKP remained the largest party in parliament with 341 seats but failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed to elect its presidential nominee. The CHP came in second with 112 seats losing 67. The MHP returned to parliament with 71 seats (see note). The 26 remaining seats went to independent candidates. In all a record 50 women were elected up from 24 in the previous elections held in 2002.

Following the elections 13 members of the DSP decided to split from the CHP thus reducing the number of CHP seats to 99. Twenty of the 26 independent candidates elected were sworn in as Democratic Society Party (DTP) members. The DTP returned to parliament for the first time since 1991 when its members were ousted after insisting on taking their parliamentary oath in Kurdish. The jailed candidate was released after her election by virtue of the immunity granted to parliamentarians. Another independent member formed the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) while five others remained independent.

The newly-elected members were sworn in on 4 August. On 9 August Mr. Köksal Toptan (AKP) was elected as the new Speaker. On the following day Ms. Güldal Mumcu (CHP) and Ms. Meral Aksener (MHP) were elected as Deputy Speakers becoming the first women to hold these posts.

In the meantime on 6 August outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer asked Mr. Erdogan to form a new government.

The AKP endorsed Mr. Abdullah Gül as its presidential candidate. In the first and second rounds of voting in the presidential elections no candidate won the necessary two thirds of votes. In the third round which requires only a simple majority of 276 votes Mr. Gül was finally elected as the country's new President winning 339 votes. He was officially sworn in on the next day and subsequently approved the new AKP government led by Prime Minister Erdogan.

Final composition of the Grand National Assembly as at 4 August 2007
Justice and Development Party (AKP): 341
Republican People's Party (CHP): 99
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP): 70
Democratic Society Party (DTP): 20*
Democratic Left Party (DSP): 13*
Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP): 1*
Independent: 5
Vacant: 1
* Parties formed after the elections.
Voter turnout
Round no 122 July 2007
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
35'828'274 (84.16%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Justice and Development Party (AKP) 16'198'597 46.52
Republican People's Party (CHP) 7'277'553 20.90
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 4'968'452 14.27
Independents 1'835'486 5.27
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
Justice and Development Party (AKP) 341
Republican People's Party (CHP) 112
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 71
Independents 26
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
31 to 40 years
41 to 50 years
51 to 60 years
61 to 70 years
Over 70 years
Distribution of seats according to profession
Educators 121
Engineers/PC experts 101
Legal professions 92
Others 57
Medical professions (doctors dentists nurses) 40
Economists 39
Bankers (including invest bankers)/accountants 22
Civil/public servants/administrators (including social/development workers) 18
Farmers/agricultural workers (including wine growers) 17
Media-related professions (journalists/publishers) 11
Architects 10
Liberal professions (including artists authors) and sports professionals 9
Scientists and researchers 6
Military/police officers 5
Consultants (including real estate agents) 2
Source (Grand National Assembly of Turkey 22.02.2008)
Note on the distribution of seats according to political parties:
The number of seats won by the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) includes one vacated by Dr. Mehmet Cihat Ozonder who was killed in a traffic accident in Ankara on 26 July. The vacant seat will not be filled until the next general elections.

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