No surprises expected in the presidential election

Published 23.07.2014 01:06

The direct presidential election is the second leg of Turkey's historical transformation. Against all odds, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came out victorious in the first leg, the March 30 local elections, with 45 percent of the vote. Had the corruption allegations against some ministers not surfaced and the government not interfered in the judiciary, this percentage would have been higher. Now, we are on the verge of going through the second leg. It will not be surprising if Erdoğan wins a landslide victory, or at least, achieves a triumph by five or 10 points in the first round of voting. Most probably, the AK Party will assume a clear victory as well in the general elections that are scheduled to be held in the first half of 2015. These elections, which roughly come one after another in only a single year, will lead to radical changes in Turkey's regime, state-society relations and understanding of citizenship. The new Constitution will be the first fruit of these fundamental changes.

Those who still cannot fathom what is going on in this country are preoccupied by imagining that votes for İhsanoğlu will outnumber those for Erdoğan. There are also those who think that this process of change and transformation will stop and the government will return to the old political and social system. As they know that it is no longer possible to achieve this through a coup, they come up with a theory of sorts that deceives them in every single election. Ironically enough, in this electoral process as well, there are authors who claim that the AK Party went into panic-mode when İhsanoğlu became a candidate and the majority of Islamist circles had been moving toward İhsanoğlu.

Let us make a simple calculation. The turnout in the local elections was around 90 percent and the approximately voting rates of the parties were as such: The AK Party received 17.8 million votes, the Republican People's Party (CHP) 10.9 million, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 7.4 and the People's Democratic Party (HDP) 881,000. Since Turkish citizens living abroad will vote in this election for the first time, the number of eligible voters will jump to 53 million from 50 million. When the constituency of each party is taken individually, we have this picture in front of us.

The AK Party is likely to restore a total of 1.5 million votes that it lost to the MHP in the local elections. It will also receive an additional 500,000 votes from the MHP as in fact İhsanoğlu represents the CHP. Furthermore, roughly 75 percent of the Turkish electorate in Europe is known to support the AK Party. It is estimated that this can add almost 1.5 million votes to the AK Party. It will not be surprising for the MHP to experience a loss of 500,000votes as turnout might see a slight fall. It is estimated that the total vote of the AK Party will be around 23 million. It is understood through fieldwork that some 20 percent of the CHP's electorate, which is equal to 2.5 million votes, will not head to the polls.

Additionally, due to the Sunni Islamist identity of İhsanoğlu, a total of 500,000 votes are expected to be lost to the HDP. Thus, only around 9 million of the CHP's voters will support the joint candidate. It is again observed through opinion polls that slightly more than 10 percent of the MHP's electorate will not vote. It is a high probability that 6 million of the MHP's voters will vote for İhsanoğlu. In addition to its own constituency of 3.5 million, the HDP will receive the votes of Alevis, secularists, and urban and leftist sections of society that are not content with İhsanoğlu, reaching 4 million.

Consequently, we will go through an election in which a total of 42 million out of 53 million eligible voters will go to polls. The turnout will be 79 percent. The approximate votes that the candidates will garner will be as follows: Erdoğan will complete the presidential race with 54 percent while İhsanoğlu will receive 35 percent and Demirtaş will receive 9.5 percent of the vote. At the most, a one-point change may be seen in these figures. In short, no surprises are expected in the presidential election. The second leg of this historical transformation that indicates the reconstruction of the Republic will end with these results.

How very certain!

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