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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) 12 June 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey following the adoption on 3 March 2011 of a proposal by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) calling for early general elections. General elections had previously been taken place in July 2007.
On 3 March 2011, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey adopted a proposal by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) for elections to be held on 12 June, two months earlier than constitutionally due.

In the previous elections held in July 2007, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP took 341 of the 550 seats at stake. The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) took 112 and 76 seats respectively, while the remainder went to independents. Following the elections, 13 members of the centre-left Democratic Left Party (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 had been dismissed after insisting on taking their parliamentary oath in Kurdish. Kurds account for 18 per cent of the country's 74 million inhabitants.

Following the elections, the Grand National Assembly elected Mr. Abdullah Gül (AKP) as the country's President, in the third round of voting. He subsequently approved the new AKP government led by Prime Minister Erdogan.

In November 2007, the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor's Office filed a case against the DTP, demanding that the party be disbanded on grounds that it was a focal point of acts against the integrity of the State. It accused the DTP of having ties with the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In December 2009, the Constitutional Court ordered the disbandment of the DTP. Twenty DTP parliamentarians subsequently joined the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a pro-Kurdish party established in 2008.

The country's economy continued to grow during Prime Minister Erdogan's second term in office. It grew by nine per cent in 2010, the second highest growth rate among the G-20 nations, outperformed only by China. In March 2011, Prime Minister Erdogan announced Turkey's export strategy, pledging to raise the country's gross domestic product (GDP) from its current level of US$ 730 billion to US$ 2 trillion by 2023.

In 2011, Prime Minister Erdogan was seeking to win a third term in office. His party's main rivals were the CHP, led by Mr. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and the MHP, led by Mr. Devlet Bahceli. In all, 15 parties and 200 independent candidates were vying for seats. Political parties need to win over 10 per cent of the valid votes nationwide, while independent candidates need to win over 10 per cent of the valid votes in the province where they stand for election.

Many independent candidates were reportedly backed by the BDP. The BDP formed an electoral alliance with two other pro-Kurdish parties - the Participatory Democracy Party (KADEP) and the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR).

On 14 May, the Prime Minister announced that drafting a new constitution would be his key priority after the 2011 elections. The country's current Constitution was written shortly after the September 1980 military coup.

Prime Minister Erdogan pledged that the new constitution would ensure individual freedoms and make Turkey more democratic. He argued that it was necessary for the country's accession to the European Union. Although he came short of giving details, he hinted that he might introduce a presidential system. He urged voters to give the AKP the two-thirds majority (367 seats) required to modify the Constitution.

The opposition CHP criticized the Prime Minister for what it termed despotic ambitions. It argued that the new constitution should be drafted in consultation with all parties. It urged voters to support the CHP to prevent the AKP from drafting the new constitution single-handedly. The CHP presented its own draft constitution, promising to ensure more rights for minorities. It proposed to guarantee the teaching of each Turkish citizen's mother tongue and to use the word "citizenship" instead of "Turkishness". The CHP's proposals included no longer making religion classes mandatory and lowering the threshold for gaining parliamentary representation from 10 to five per cent. In 2011, the CHP, which traditionally draws secular support, tried to reach out to poor citizens by promising a better welfare system.

The MHP promised to work for national unity, which, in its view, had been threatened by the AKP government's overtures towards the Kurds. It accused the AKP of corruption and pledged to stop the country's resources from going to "some privileged circles". In May, six senior MHP members resigned after receiving telephone threats to publish compromising videos on the Internet. One of the MHP leaders said that he was the victim of a "trap sponsored by the AKP", an allegation the latter denied.

In the run-up to polling day, many Syrian refugees fleeing a crackdown crossed Turkey's southern border. On 8 June, Prime Minister Erdogan said that Turkey would not close its borders to refugees coming from Syria.

In all, 83.16 per cent of the 50 million registered voters turned out at the polls.

Transparent plastic ballot boxes were used for the first time instead of the wooden boxes used previously, in a move to prevent fraud.

Three parties secured the required 10 per cent of the valid votes nationwide to win parliamentary representation. The AKP won 326 seats, 41 short of the two-thirds majority. The CHP increased its share from 112 to 135 seats. Inversely, the MHP saw its share reduced from 71 to 53 seats. Thirty-six independent candidates, including 35 backed by the BDP, were elected. In all, 79 women were elected.

Preliminary results included nine candidates who were serving prison terms exceeding one year: six independents backed by the BDP, two CHP members and one MHP member. On 22 June, the Supreme Election Board cancelled the parliamentary mandate of one of BDP-backed candidates in prison.

Candidates are considered as elected when the Supreme Election Council declares the election results. However, elected members are required to take oath in plenary in order to exercise their parliamentary mandate. The remaining eight were therefore unable to take up their seats.

Many opposition members announced that they would boycott the swearing-in of the newly elected parliament unless all the jailed deputies were allowed to join parliament.

On 28 June, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey held its first session, which was boycotted by 170 opposition members. On 4 July, the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Cemil Çiçek (AKP) was elected as the new Speaker in the third round of voting.
Voter turnout
Round no 112 June 2011
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
43'914'948 (83.16%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes % Gain/Loss votes %
Justice and Development Party (AKP) 21'422'206 49.90 3.32
Republican People's Party (CHP) 11'134'616 25.91 5.03
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 5'580'580 12.99 -1.28
Independents 2'859'267 6.65 1.41
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Gain/Loss Number of women
Justice and Development Party (AKP) 326 -15 46
Republican People's Party (CHP) 135 23 19
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 53 -18 3
Independents 36 10 11
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Grand National Assembly of Turkey (05.07.2011, 05.12.2013, 09.01.2014)

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