HDP has razor-thin margin for entering parliament, co-chairman says

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The co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Sezai Temelli (C) attends a rally ahead of the upcoming presidential election, during a rally on May 4, 2018 in Besiktas district of Istanbul. Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) launched its campaign for June 24 elections, as other opposition parties indicated they were set to join forces in an unprecedented alliance against incumbent president. / AFP PHOTO / Yasin AKGUL

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Sezai Temelli on Friday released the results of a survey on the upcoming elections on June 24 and said his party’s chances of surpassing the 10 percent threshold to enter to parliament are razor-thin.

“According to the results of a poll we received yesterday, our party’s share of the vote is around 10.2 percent. This will increase. However, the government is responsible for this situation,” Temelli said during a visit to the Saturday Mothers, an initiative of women who lost their sons in conflict between the Turkish army and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

Temelli blames a decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to move or consolidate polling stations in 19 predominantly Kurdish provinces for a possible decrease in the HDP’s votes.

Yesterday the HDP’s jailed former co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, also expressed concern about the HDP’s tight situation in the elections, according to an interview with Rudaw’s Turkish service.

“The HDP seems close to the 10 percent threshold, but we know that it has increasing public support. The HDP will certainly surpass the threshold,” Demirtaş said.

He also stated that none of the presidential candidates would be elected in the first round of votes and that the HDP could be a kingmaker.

The Kurdish party also holds the key to the parliamentary elections since in the predominantly Kurdish provinces the HDP’s only rival is the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). If they cannot manage to enter to parliament, their seats will be filled by AKP deputies, which would give the AKP a majority.

The HDP is not the only Kurdish party in the southeast of Turkey, though. The Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) appeals to conservative Kurdish voters who might see the HDP’s politics as too leftist. HÜDA-PAR recently announced they would support incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his bid for re-election.

However, the party’s Diyarbakır branch chairman, Metin Kaya, said even conservative Kurdish voters were concerned about the AKP’s alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in an interview with the Artı Gerçek news website in April.

Also, Zekeriya Yapıcıoğlu, HÜDA-PAR’s former chairman and parliamentary candidate in the elections on June 24, yesterday told the Doğan news agency that the HDP would not face a problem in exceeding the election threshold.

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