Finishing a distant second in a Turkish parliamentary election is no easy task for a party created by the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. With 25.9 percent of the vote in Turkey’s June 12 elections, however, the People’s Republican Party (CHP) is learning to lick its wounds and carry on with an attempt to reinvent itself.
In a bid for fresh votes, the CHP had opted to disassociate itself from the statist economic policies and military allies of its 87-year-old past, and present itself to voters as a party for progressive, multicultural secularists who want strong ties with the European Union and a more even distribution of Turkey’s economic wealth.
Whether that strategy paid off, though, remains an open question. The CHP lost by a huge margin to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which took 49.9 percent of the popular vote. The AKP will form its third single-party government since 2002.
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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.