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Win or lose, Turkey's Kurds will advance in June elections

Turkey’s main Kurdish-dominated party could deal a serious blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party if its efforts at attracting broad support succeed in helping it surpass the 10% voting threshold in the June general elections.
Supporters of Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) and presidential candidate, wave flags and shout slogans during an election rally in Istanbul, August 3, 2014. Turkey will vote for its first directly-elected president on August 10. REUTERS/Osman Orsal  (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR412ZU
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In a normal democracy, it would be unthinkable for a political party with a projected vote count of some 9% to be left out of parliament. In Turkey, however, it is possible, because the country’s parliamentary electoral threshold, the world’s highest, stands at 10%. The latest debate sparked by the threshold involves the Kurdish-dominated People’s Democracy Party (HDP) and its chances of entering parliament in the June 7 general elections.

Turkey’s Kurdish parties have never managed to reach the 10% mark, but they won parliamentary representation at the polls in 2007 and 2011, when the parties won seats by fielding independents, a method that allowed them to get around the threshold requirement. In 2011, the Peace and Democracy Party, from which the HDP branched off, garnered only 6% of the vote but managed to get 36 candidates into parliament. In 2007, its predecessor, the Democratic Society Party, used the same method to clinch 20 seats, while receiving about 4% of the vote.

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