Pro-Kurdish candidates get ready for Turkey's vote

The HDP, which is for the first time taking part in parliamentary elections as a party instead of being represented by independent candidates, needs to surpass a 10 percent threshold to get represented in Parliament.

Pro-Kurdish candidates get ready for Turkey's vote

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is betting on newfound appeal beyond its Kurdish base to propel it into parliament for the first time, threatening to deprive the ruling party of critical seats in June elections.

While small, the HDP could play a significant role in the parliamentary polls, given that the AK Party founded by President Tayyip Erdogan needs a sweeping victory to change the constitution and broaden his presidential powers.

"Crowds who have never thought of voting for us before are now considering it," the party's co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said in an interview in the capital Ankara. "Our target is 100 seats in the parliament and 15 percent of the votes."

The HDP, which has traditionally represented the interests of Turkey's Kurdish ethnic minority, is running as a party for the first time.

It needs to meet a 10 percent threshold in the polls to enter parliament, and in the past ran its candidates as independents to skirt that controversial rule.

In 2011, HDP-linked independent candidates won 36 seats in the parliament, accounting for 6.5 percent of the votes. Opinion polls currently show it close to 10 percent, while Demirtas won 9.76 percent in August 2014 presidential elections.

Analysts say the party is resonating more with the liberal, middle-class Turks who see the opposition CHP as disorganised. The HDP is also keen to win followers against those Kurds who have traditionally supported the AK Party, which retains a strong base among the conservative working class.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Nisan 2015, 17:49