Turkish Voters Oust Motherland Party, Set Stage for New Coalition Government
VETERAN politician Suleyman Demirel headed for a narrow victory in parliamentary elections, ending the rule of the Motherland Party in Turkey.Unofficial results early Monday gave Mr. Demirel's True Path Party 27.6 percent of votes, followed by Motherland with 24.2 percent. Motherland, founded by President Turgut Ozal and now led by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, set Turkey on a path of liberal economic reform in its eight years in power, but inflation and budget deficits tarnished its record. Demirel, six times prime minister and twice ousted by the military, is a bitter rival of President Ozal, even though his party occupies much the same center-right ground as Motherland. With under 30 percent of the vote, Demirel would need to form a coalition government, Turkey's first since a 1980 military coup, analysts say. The Social Democrat Populist Party, led by Erdal Inonu, was trailing Motherland with 20.8 percent support. The Islamic fundamentalist Welfare Party of Necmettin Erbakan was running strongly with 16.3 percent of the vote. Former Premier Bulent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party had 9.9 percent support, just below the 10 percent threshold needed to enter the 450-seat parliament. Mr. Erbakan, Demirel, and Mr. Ecevit were involved in coalitions in the turbulent 1970s, a period of left-right violence in which more than 5,000 people were killed.