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Turkey

With Erdogan's Victory, Political Stakes Grow In Turkey

Erdogan supporters in post-victory celebration in Ankara
Erdogan supporters in post-victory celebration in Ankara
Ahmet Insel

ISTANBUL — What does voter turnout in Sunday's Turkish presidential election tell us about the popularity and ambitions of President-Elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

So far, we know the number of Turks who went to the polls for the country's first direct presidential election in history was about 13% lower than the number who turned out for the March 30 municipal elections. But that should not offer too much comfort for Erdogan's opponents.

In garnering 51.79% of Sunday's presidential vote, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) avoided a runoff in this historic vote. (Before now, the Turkish parliament appointed the country's leader.) The man who has already served as prime minister for the past 11 years also increased his 19.3 million votes from March to 20.5 million Sunday.

While it's clear that a small portion of AKP voters failed to turn out this time around, some who voted with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in March instead cast their ballots Sunday for Erdogan.

Erdogan's personal success is naturally an important victory for him and his party. Still, taking into consideration the turnout question, he fell short of the 50% of eligible voters that would ostensibly be needed for a constitutional reform referendum to give the president greater powers. Unlike largely ceremonial predecessors, the president-elect has made it clear that he plans to exercise all the power available to the presidential administration under current laws. He has also made no secret of his plans to change the constitution and forge an executive presidency.

To achieve that, Erdogan would need to convince two to three million more voters to support such far-reaching changes. This won't be an easy job for the former prime minister, who needs to at least appear to be impartial.

Still, the real victim of the lower turnout in the presidential election was Erdogan’s chief political opponent. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the runner-up and concensus candidate for the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the MHP, saw support slip on election day, as did a handful of smaller other political parties. It also seems that Ihsanoglu was the candidate who suffered the biggest losses from the grassroots. Early results show that MHP voters preferred Erdogan over Ihsanoglu, particularly in central Turkey.

The second victory of this election belongs to the Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas, of the leftist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). He received almost 10% of the vote, while the average vote for other pro-Kurdish parties was around just 6%. This increase in votes from western Turkey provides hope for Demirtas' future as a major opposition force. Still, such success comes with a significant political risk if the HDP decides to enter the next elections seeking to top the 10% election barrier instead of having their parliamentary deputies elected as individual candidates.

If the party falls short of the 10%, they will have no representation in the parliament at all, and the AKP could wind up with an even greater majority.

A little bit more than the half of those who went to the polls Sunday voted for Erdogan in the first direct elections for the presidency. It marks a turning point for Turkey’s democracy where the political stakes will only grow higher.

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Society

The Modern "Housewife" Has Another Job — And As Raw A Deal As Ever

Women play a vital role in the workplace, so the German government is introducing policies that reward families with two working parents. However, the strain of raising a family still falls unfairly on mothers, making them victims of capitalism.

A hand in a yellow glove cleans the surface near a sink

Cleaning surfaces is one of many household tasks that may fall to housewives.

Eva Marie Kogel

-Analysis-

BERLIN — In the early 2000s, there was an advert for vacuum cleaners. A stylish woman at a party was asked in a somewhat disparaging tone what she did for work. The woman smiled briefly and flipped her immaculately blow-dried hair. Then she said, “I manage a successful family business.” So there. The other person, a high-powered career woman, hadn’t reckoned with that comeback.

The joke was that the family business was in fact not a business, but a family, and of course the punchline hinged on a recognition of what is now called “care work,” but could just as easily be called “women’s work,” because that is precisely what it is.

Today, like then, the share of housework done by men and women in Germany is ridiculously unequal. Although it is true that modern men do more around the house than previous generations, the German Institute for Economic Research estimates that, on average, women spend around 10 hours a day caring for their families, while men spend three.

German mothers therefore often work part-time because there are only 24 hours in a day, and they can’t fit in full-time employment alongside caring for their families. This means that, overall, women don’t work any less than men, but a large proportion of their work is unpaid. paid.

Germany’s Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus recently waded into the middle of this heated issue by announcing a cap on the parental allowance (paid to parents in the first year of their child’s life), which sparked outrage. Women! Equality! Feminists were dismayed to see hard-won advances rolled back.

It took a day before the Ministry for Family Affairs calmed fears by explaining that the cap would only affect a small proportion of those families who are entitled to the parental allowance: only those with a taxable annual income of €150,000 or more.

However, the debate raged on. This is about more than just whether a few well-off families should continue to receive a state benefit. The introduction of the parental allowance was part of a wider story about emancipation: liberating women through paid work. This announcement cuts to the heart of views about mothers, children, fathers and equality, and above all, how the state rewards families with two working parents.

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