July 4, 2018 / 2:27 PM / 4 months ago

Turkish opposition parties say election alliance no longer necessary

ANKARA (Reuters) - A three-way electoral alliance among Turkey’s opposition parties is no longer needed now that the parliamentary and presidential elections are over, the two smaller parties within the alliance said on Wednesday.

Turkey held snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, granting President Tayyip Erdogan a new mandate with sweeping new powers under a powerful executive presidency narrowly approved in a referendum last year.

Ahead of the elections, Turkey’s main opposition CHP formed the People’s Alliance with the smaller Iyi Party and Saadet Party, intended to rival an alliance between the ruling AK Party and its nationalist MHP allies, who together secured a parliamentary majority.

“Our alliance was not a coalition, it was an electoral cooperation,” Iyi Party spokesman Aytun Ciray said at a news conference ahead of a two-day party meeting.

“We had formed an alliance to prevent election fraud and votes going to waste. With the elections coming to an end, there is no longer need for this election cooperation and alliance.”

Temel Karamollaoglu, the leader of the Saadet Party, also said on Wednesday that the People’s Alliance had “lived its course”.

The CHP was not immediately available for comment.

By forming alliances, parties were able to bypass a 10 percent threshold required to enter parliament.

The AK Party, which lost its sole majority in the assembly after nearly 16 years, now has to rely on the support of its nationalist MHP allies, who outstripped expectations to win more than 11 percent of the vote.

The main opposition CHP won some 23 percent of the vote, while the Iyi Party, led by former interior minister and MHP deputy Meral Aksener, won around 10 percent, according to unofficial results.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), which was not part of an alliance, earned 11.7 percent of votes to become the assembly’s second largest opposition party, unofficial results showed.

Turkey’s High Electoral Board (YSK) is expected to announce the official results of the elections later on Wednesday.

Turkey’s political parties are now preparing for the possibility that municipal elections, slated for March 2019, could be brought forward.

The CHP’s presidential candidate, Muharrem Ince, has launched a tour around the country ahead of the municipal elections and amid a dispute with party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu over party leadership. Ince has offered to take over as CHP chairman, but Kilicdaroglu has so far declined.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ece Toksabay

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