The day after the election

When I place recent surveys for the June 7 election in front of me, I guess it is highly likely Turkey will heave a sigh of relief on June 8. This is because almost all surveys show the Justice and Development Party (AKP) losing some of its votes and, more importantly, the Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) passing the national election threshold of 10 percent.
I have seen different surveys conducted by seven different companies. In only one of them does the AKP appear to be able to form a government on its own. In others, it appears that no single party will be able to form a single-party government a coalition is required or the AKP will have to convince deputies from other political parties to join it. The last alternative of course is to seek support from other political parties for a minority government. In all of these alternatives, though, one thing is certain: Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s dream of changing Turkeyand’s parliamentarian system into a presidential one and being the first president under this system will fade away. The second thing that is certain is that the AKP will lose its absolute power and freedom to act on its own in Parliament when it comes to enacting laws and other parliamentarian activities. However, the AKP losing power does not guarantee that this country will achieve peace. During the campaigning process, all the three opposition parties that will be in Parliament after the June 7 election declared that they would not partner with the AKP for a coalition. If we accept these solemn declarations at their face value and not as a political maneuver in any way, then a crisis will be knocking on Turkeyand’s doors. During this entire campaign, Erdogan has acted as though he is still the leader of the ruling AKP. Can he change his position after the election and act as though he is an impartial president, as defined in the Constitution? For example, if the AKP cannot form a government, would Erdogan allow Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) leader, as the chairman of the main opposition party, to try to form a coalition government? Or would he insist that only a person from the AKP can try and form a government? And finally, would Erdogan try to opt for an early election if the AKP cannot form a government within 45 days after the election? If Erdogan continues with his biased attitude towards the opposition and if he gives the impression that he will not allow the opposition to try and form a government, that would mean a serious crisis is awaiting Turkey. Most people are truly fed up with Erdoganand’s biased and bossy attitude and if he continues this way after the election, we might witness Gezi-like protests across the country. The other question, of course, is whether Erdogan can maintain his grip over the party after a serious defeat in the election. This depends of course on the extent to which the AKP loses votes. In just a few surveys the AKP appears to receive below the psychological threshold of 40 percent. If it really goes below 40 percent then we might witness a significant rift in the party and a serious debate over the role of Erdogan as guardian of the party. In short, we are heading for an election that promises surprises and changes. I really hope that democracy will prevail and that everyone concerned will act soundly and in a responsible manner. We are holding our breaths and waiting to see the results of the June 7 election.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman