Pro-Kurdish party attributes loss of votes to unfair competition

The pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) saw its share of the vote significantly decrease in Sundayand’s snap general election, a fact it has attributed to unfair election conditions and recent attacks by the terrorist Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK), which resulted in increased criticism of the HDP.
Despite obtaining over 13 percent of the vote in the June 7 general election, the HDP could only win 10.8 percent on Nov. 1. The number of HDP deputies has also fallen, from 80 to 59. The partyand’s co-chairs said in a press conference toward the end of the election night that they consider the party to have been successful despite the fall in support, given the government pressure and the unfair competition they claim has affected them since the June election.
The HDP has been strongly targeted by the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for its alleged links with the PKK, a stance that served to turn much of society against the party. HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtai underlined in the conference at the party headquarters that the election was not conducted in a fair environment. and”We were not able to lead an election campaign. We tried to protect our people against attacks,and” Demirtai said.
Demirtaiand’ remark is a reference to a twin suicide bombing in Ankara in early October in which 102 people lost their lives. Most of the people killed in the bombing supported the Kurdish settlement process and led to restrictions in the HDP campaign. The HDP co-chair also said that the party struggled during the campaign because all the resources or the government were being used against the party.
PKK attacks against Turkish security forces began in late July, six weeks after the June election, further increasing polarization in society. Following the Ankara attack, the HDP stopped holding rallies around the country that were planned as part of its election campaign. Similarly to other opposition parties, the HDPand’s campaign was given very little coverage on state-owned television channels, with the pro-government media having long portrayed the party in a negative light.
HDP Co-chair Figen Yuksekdai said at the conference that the fact that the party had managed to pass the 10 percent election threshold despite all the pressure placed on it should be seen as a success. She said that the HDP had faced the most challenging circumstances and recalled that 258 civilians, including 33 children, had lost their lives in the five months following the June election. and”Todayand’s success was achieved by those who marched against the attacks,and” she said.
Ertuirul Gandunay, a former minister in the Justice and Development Party (AK Parry) government, said on Twitter that the main aim of the repeat election had been to push the HDP under the threshold.
If the HDP had failed to pass the threshold, the AK Party would have received all the deputies won by the HDP in the predominantly Kurdish provinces of southeastern Turkey. Gandunay also accused the PKK of playing into the AK Partyand’s hands by restarting its attacks on the Turkish security forces.
More than 150 members of the security forces have been killed in PKK attacks since the end of June.


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