Rejoicing by supporters of the Republican People's (R.P.P.) after their surprising win in Turkey's general?
Rejoicing by supporters of the Republican People's (R.P.P.) after their surprising win in Turkey's general elections on Sunday (October 14) was dampened when the margin of victory proved to be slim. The party's prospective Prime Minister, Mr. Bulent Ecevit, will probably have to form a coalition government.
Turkey's 17 million votes swung strongly to the left to defeat the former ruling Conservative Justice Party, who had been expected to win. Yet, political observers find it difficult to see with whom the winners can form a coalition.
The election ended two-and-a-half years' backstage military rule, during which the Constitutional Court banned the Marxist Labour Party and put its leaders in jail. The Republican People's Party is thus the only Socialist-leaning party. Most other parties are more conservative than the Justice Party, so despite the R.P.P. win, a conservative coalition is likely to form the government.
Final results are still awaited, but unofficial figures give the R.P.P. at least 186 of the National Assembly's 450 seats. The Justice Party of Mr. Suleyman Demiral has 161 seats.
Most parties have promised a general amnesty for the 5,700 political prisoners held since the military took over, which may offset possible unrest over political manoeuvrings related to the formation of coalitions.
Martial law was only recently lifted in Istanbul and Ankara. Four people were killed on polling day in battles between rival political supporters in eastern Turkey.