Poll:Turkish ruling party may lose majority in June election

Turkey's ruling AK Party may lose its parliamentary majority in a June 7 election and be forced to form either a coalition or a minority government, according to a poll privately commissioned by Turkish business and cited in newspapers on Friday.

The poll by research firm Konda showed support for the AK Party dropping to 40.5 percent from 49.8 percent at the last general election in 2011, according to bankers who have seen the research and highlights published by Turkish newspapers.

The poll, which has not been made public by Konda, also showed the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) would garner 11.5 percent of the vote, above the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The prospect of the AK Party being unable to form a single-party government unnerved financial markets, with Turkish assets underperforming emerging markets peers.

But a senior AKP official dismissed such an outcome, saying his party would see little more than a slight fall in support.

"Even if there is a fall … there is no reason to expect a fall as sharp as Konda predicts," Naci Bostanci, AK Party's parliament group head told Reuters. "I'd think AK Party's vote would be far above 40 percent. We can win around 46-47 percent."

Konda has built a strong reputation over years for its research on parliamentary elections, although it overestimated support for Erdogan in a presidential election last August.

A drop in support to the level it forecast would make it very difficult for the AK Party to push through the constitutional changes sought by its co-founder, President Tayyip Erdogan, who wants stronger executive powers.

Should it be forced into coalition, the AKP's most likely partners are seen as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with which it shares some right-leaning ideology. A coalition with the HDP is also seen as a possibility, but HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas has ruled out such a move.

Economists and traders say markets have been pricing in a simple majority for the AK Party, albeit a weaker one than in 2011, and the Konda poll jangled investor nerves.

The lira weakened to 2.6050 to the dollar by 1345 GMT, underperforming major emerging markets peers. The main stock index was down 0.88 percent.

"(Turkish) asset traders should expect more poll-driven volatility," Isik Okte, investment strategist at Istanbul-based TEB Investment, said in a note to clients.

The Konda poll predicted less than 29 percent of the vote for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and less than 15 percent for the MHP.

The AK Party, founded in 2001, swept to power with an overall majority a year later ending long years of fractious coalition government that had thwarted economic progress and unnerved markets.

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