Who will be the AK Party's dance partner?

Published 19.06.2015 19:54
Updated 20.06.2015 01:17

The pre-election arithmetic is based on the simple fact that a coalition that excludes the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is neither sustainable nor realistic in political terms. On the other hand, a new election in the short run is likely to favor the AK Party. Consequently, the opposition parties are caught in a dilemma. They need a coalition by all manner of means. Despite that, the votes the AK Party would get in a new election would be largely influenced by the way holding new elections is determined. If the AK Party behaves confidently about increasing its votes and keeps the bar of bargaining high, its votes might decrease inversely. But if the party does its best to form a coalition and cooperation cannot be made despite its efforts, its votes might increase beyond expectations. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu act accepting this simple equation. Erdoğan's meeting with former Republican People's Party's (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal was a part of this. No matter if they are accepted or not, all the attempts to negotiate with party chairs have the same function. Davutoğlu also declared that they do not have any red lines and are open to negotiation with all parties, adding that the public willed the formation of a coalition and the AK Party would conform to this.

This attitude has intensified the opposition's dilemma even more. Consequently, a tacit conflict will take place between the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and this tension will determine the result. In other words, it can be said that the AK Party will not determine which coalition option can be realized. This decision will be shaped within the tactical war between the two opposition parties. The MHP is in a more advantaged position compared to the CHP. After all, it increased its votes by three percent and demonstrated that it has a potential to make use of the AK Party's loss of votes. The party predicts that becoming a coalition partner will favor the MHP because all the malfunctions would be pinned on the stronger partner in an AK Party-MHP coalition. Also, the inevitable halt of the reconciliation process might lead the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to adopt a radical discourse, which would strengthen the MHP's hand. But the MHP also thinks it would still be advantaged even if it remains an opposition party. Since a possible AK Party-CHP coalition would make the MHP the main opposition party for the first time in the system, its chance to receive a part of the CHP's votes could increase. This consideration causes the MHP to keep its bar of bargaining high.

Although being the main opposition for a long time, the CHP is a party that could not even increase its votes in the face of the AK Party's loss of votes. When viewed from a long-term perspective, the CHP is actually the only absolute loser of the system. So, the possibility of being a partner to the government is very appealing to the CHP. But this should not be a short-term government otherwise the CHP will support the AK Party and have no gain as a result. Remaining in the opposition means an additional failure for the party. While the continuity of the main opposition function, which has been ongoing for years, would not bring any benefit to the party, missing the chance to become the ruling power might unsettle the party from the inside.

Therefore, the bargaining bar of the CHP is not that high, which is relieving for the AK Party and present an opportunity to take steps in the reconciliation process and drafting a new constitution. The real problem is that the CHP has an unpredictable structure in terms of its administrational balances and it is also open to external interventions including the influence of the Gülen Movement. However, the CHP is expected to produce a facilitative influence on forming a coalition since it is thirstier for power.

Nevertheless, if this possible AK Party-CHP partnership achieves to be long term, none of the acquisitions the MHP imagines will be realized. So, the MHP may become more audacious all of a sudden, the red lines may be blurred and an AK Party-MHP coalition, which could be desirable due to cultural similarities, might be brought to the agenda. However, the CHP is also aware of this, so it will obviously take action to prevent it. All in all, no matter which one would be the partner, a coalition in line with the AK Party's expectations would not be surprising at all.

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