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Turkish PM calls for new constitution after election victory

Monday, November 02, 2015 - 01:31

''Let's work together for a civilian, liberal constitution and change the post-coup constitution,'' says Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after his ruling AK Party regained its parliamentary majority. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Turkey's political parties to come together and agree a new constitution after his ruling AK Party regained its parliamentary majority at a general election on Sunday (November 1). Turkey's Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to an unexpected victory in elections on Sunday, returning the country to single-party rule in an outcome that will boost the power of President Tayyip Erdogan but may sharpen deep social divisions. With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50 percent of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected. Davutoglu tweeted simply "Elhamdulillah" (Thanks be to god), before emerging from his family home in the central Anatolian city of Konya to briefly address crowds of cheering supporters. At AKP headquarters in Ankara, under a sky lit by fireworks, he urged Turkey's political parties to work together on a new constitution, which Erdogan has said he would like to see include executive powers for the presidency. "I'm calling on all parties entering parliament to form a new civilian national constitution," he told supporters during the balcony speech. "We will never sacrifice freedoms for security. We will build the new Turkey together to maintain both freedoms and security. I would like to stress that our citizens' safety and their freedom of expression as well as their freedom of belief is under our protection. After today's results we will not give up from the peace process and from the fight against terrorism," he added. A senior official from the main CHP opposition, which had calculated on 'reining in' Erdogan's influence with a coalition government, described the result as "simply a disaster". The outcome could aggravate deep splits in Turkey between pious conservatives who champion Erdogan as a hero of the working class, and Western-facing secularists suspicious of his authoritarianism and Islamist ideals. In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, security forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters after support for the pro-Kurdish opposition fell perilously close to the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament. In June, the AKP lost the overall majority it had enjoyed since 2002. Erdogan had presented Sunday's polls as a chance to restore stability at a time of tension over Kurdish insurrection and after two bombings, attributed to Islamic State, while critics fear a drift to authoritarianism under the president. With 99 percent of votes counted, the AKP was on 49.4 percent, according to state-run broadcaster TRT, giving it 316 of parliament's 550 seats. The main opposition CHP was at 25.4 percent and a senior official said any hopes of a coalition now looked all but impossible. Since June's poll, a ceasefire with Kurdish militants has collapsed, the war in neighboring Syria has worsened and Turkey - a NATO member state - has been buffeted by two Islamic State-linked suicide bomb attacks that killed more than 130 people. Investors and Western allies hoped the vote would help restore stability and confidence in an $800 billion economy, allowing Ankara to play a more effective role in stemming a flood of refugees from nearby wars via Turkey into Europe and helping in the battle against Islamic State militants.

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Turkish PM calls for new constitution after election victory

Monday, November 02, 2015 - 01:31