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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkish Coalition Wins Vote

ANKARA -- Turkey's new pro-Western government sailed through a confidence vote that sidelined Islamists on Tuesday in one of the few parliamentary tests it is likely to pass with ease.


Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's conservative coalition won the vote by 257 to 207, a comfortable margin despite the lack of an absolute majority in the 550-seat assembly.


"We thank the parliament which has just given us a vote of confidence," Yilmaz said from the podium after the result.


He was helped past the post by the Democratic Left Party of Bulent Ecevit, whose MPs made up most of the 80 abstentions.


Staunch secularist Ecevit is bent on keeping the Islamist Welfare Party from office but is expected to place obstacles in the way of the new government's free-market program.


Welfare narrowly came first in inconclusive general polls last December in the best such result by Islamists in NATO-member Turkey's modern history. But it subsequently failed to find coalition partners.


Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan, who advocates loosening Turkey's close ties to the West, was the first party leader to shake the hand of Yilmaz following the vote.


"We are aware of the great responsibility we have taken on and we will do our utmost to deserve this confidence," Yilmaz said.


He has promised sweeping social and economic reforms.