This weekend, Turkish people will vote for the fourth time in 20 months. Turkey will have another general election following the failure of political parties to form a coalition government with the existing parliamentary vote distribution. The outcome of the June elections and the motivations of the voters in that election have been discussed since election night. In the election this weekend, in addition to these motivations, the voting behavior of the Turkish people will also be shaped by the developments that took place in the period between June and November. Turkish people will evaluate the coalition talks, national security and the state of the reconciliation process and will vote accordingly.
In this election, just like the June elections, there are several things that we already know. Without even looking at the public opinion polls or surveys, anyone who follows Turkey knows that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will win another election. There is not much debate about the possible ranking of the political parties. The AK Party will be the first party and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) will be a distant second followed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The real question here will be about the distribution of the parliamentary seats. Again the ranking of the parties according to the seat numbers is very much predictable, however whether the AK Party will become a single-party government is the main question of the elections.
Another thing that has become more obvious in the last four months is that it will be almost impossible to imagine a government in Turkey without the AK Party following the elections. In some of the polls, it shows that the party is likely to gain more than 276 votes. In fact, just a few days after the June elections, some polls said the AK Party’s vote increased dramatically due to the new parliamentary arithmetic. Those AK Party voters who did not go to the ballot box in June and regretted not doing so as well as the return of some of the votes that swung to other parties in the June elections were discussed as the possible reasons for this rapid increase in potential votes. The significance of political stability for the economy and development in the country and negative outcomes of the politics of the coalition formation process also contributed to this effect in the last four months. Since then almost all of the public opinion polls demonstrate that the AK Party increased its votes whereas two political parties, the HDP and MHP, lost some of their votes due to their positions in the inter-election period. For different reasons, their rhetoric and actions were considered destabilizing or lacking in any contribution to the stability of the country and the wellbeing of the people. We can also expect an increasing turnout of AK Party voters to the ballot box and an increase in the diaspora votes. If this trend demonstrates itself in the outcome of the elections, we will see a rise in the votes of the AK Party, which would be an increase in the parliamentary seats that could also provide single-party government status for the AK Party.
The June elections demonstrated that a coalition among the opposition parties is almost impossible and there is not a “60 percent” bloc that will facilitate the emergence of such a coalition government. Since the June elections, none of the opinion polls in the country have demonstrated a dramatic increase in the votes of these parties. Instead as mentioned above two of these parties are expected to lose votes. In fact, that imaginary 60 percent bloc is not even a 60 percent bloc anymore. Since the expected parliamentary distribution of seats will not make it possible for two opposition parties to get a majority in Parliament, the only way would be to bring three parties together, which even for those who claimed the existence of this “bloc” is very unlikely at this point.
In fact, we are going into an election not knowing much about the likely outcome. We will start discussing the unknown aspects on Monday.
This article was first published in the Daily Sabah on October 30, 2015.