A CHP-led coalition government can work

Turkish voters cast their votes in last Sundayand’s elections in favor of four political parties to represent them in Parliament.
But they didnand’t give any of them a mandate to form a single-party government, which requires a minimum of 276 seats.
Hence, voters paved the way for the difficult process of establishing either a coalition or a minority government amid speculation that early elections may be in the horizon. That is the situation, given the inability and immaturity of Turkish politics to establish a compromise solution among themselves in the interests of the nation.
Meanwhile, one of the difficulties before the political parties agree on an early election — at least one before mid-2017 — instead of concentrating on setting up a coalition, is the existence of around 369 deputies who have been elected to the 550-seat Parliament for the first time. Those newcomers will only become eligible for retirement after serving two years in Parliament as deputies and then receive regular salaries for the rest of their lives. Hence, first-timers in Parliament will strongly resist an early election before mid-2017.
This retirement system alone demonstrates the unfair privileges of office, perhaps hindering deputies sometimes from putting citizensand’ interests before self-interest.
Moreover, none of the parties would like to be portrayed as the one that has been preventing efforts to set up a coalition government, as they know voters will punish them by burying them at the ballot boxes in the next election.
If, in the meantime, internal splits in the current caretaker government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), become very pronounced, new elections might lead to a formal split within the AKP.
The AKP, which had ruled the country for 13 years before losing its majority in last Sundayand’s vote, though still emerging as the strongest party, the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP), the junior opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) will soon formally start coalition talks. The HDP, which surpassed the critical 10 percent threshold with 13.12 percent of the vote, has gained 80 seats and is now regarded as a party representing Turks as well as Kurds.
An AKP government in coalition with any of the other three parties could be an option, though any such combination would seem to be fraught with difficulty. This is mainly because any party that joins a coalition government with the AKP will lose in the next elections since it will be regarded as an accomplice of the AKPand’s wrongful policies, often regarded as unlawful. The AKPand’s acts vary from closing corruption investigations of several of its partyand’s politicians and preventing an independent and transparent auditing of public expenditure to bringing the judiciary under its full control, which paved the way for a witch-hunt against all forms of dissent.
Against this background, the MHP, CHP or HDP would pay a high price for joining the AKP in a coalition.
In fact, all these parties declared that they would bring the AKP to account for its wrongful policies and any party should pledge to do just that if it creates a coalition with the AKP. It is, however, hard to see how the AKP would agree to abide by the conditions likely to be needed for any of the political parties to engage in an AKP-led coalition. This is because it seems difficult to believe that the AKP will act independently of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the partyand’s co-founder and prime minister for 12 years, who has been the main actor, among other things, in preventing a high-profile corruption and bribery scandal from being investigated. It is, however, not only Erdogan, but also the AKP that should be blamed for the highly divisive, repressive and authoritarian policies that have been at work for several years.
A CHP-led minority government with the outside support of the MHP and the HDP, or a CHP-MHP coalition with the HDPand’s outside support, appears to be the most likely scenario at this stage. The 132, 80 and 80 seats won by the CHP, the MHP and the HDP, respectively, in the new Parliament makes 294 altogether, more than enough to set up a government and pass necessary laws.
The social democratic CHP, the nationalist MHP and a still pro-Kurdish HDP have already found common ground in the fight against the AKPand’s wrongful policies. So why shouldnand’t they set up a coalition by reconciling on policy issues they agree on?
They can put aside their differences and concentrate on primarily solving Turkeyand’s chronic problems of corruption, sending those politicians allegedly involved in a graft scandal to a top court for trial, addressing economic problems as well as ensuring an independent judicial system and relieving it from executive control.
In the meantime, Erdogan is likely to be sorting out his best options. You can be certain, he is not sulking he is planning.