The AK Party will win, but will it be victorious?

Published 05.06.2015 23:22

On Sunday, the nation will go to polls and the verdict of the people will be final. On Monday, we will wake up to a new dawn for Turkey that will probably see yet another win for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). However, the real question is not whether the AK Party will win or not, but will it lead the country as comfortably as it did over the past 12 years.

What is interesting is that a majority of the people who are voting for the AK Party are still voting for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan despite the fact that he is the president and is not technically a member of the ruling party. However, the fact that Erdoğan has been rather outspoken during the elections campaign, roaming around the country and promoting AK Party ideals and rallying for the party sometimes in a very clear manner, has once again put him in the picture as the main factor for people voting for the party. However, of course there is the other side of the coin and the fact that while nearly half of voters love Erdoğan the other half hate him and will not give a single vote for the AK Party, who may have opted for the ruling party under normal circumstances.

That is the product of the polarization that has been created in the country. All the political parties and everyone concerned should swiftly change this dangerous picture after the elections and start working toward building bridges in society to ease this polarization.

Despite all this, even some of those who have been ardent supporters of the AK Party have not been too happy with the performance of the government and its failure to stamp out corruption and thus may not vote for the ruling party. This may be manifested as a small drop in the votes for the AK Party on Sunday. However, even some of those who are disenchanted with the AK Party look at the plight of Greece and the economic mess that has turned Greece into international beggars and also remember once upon a time when Turkey went through the same ordeal, but thanks to the AK Party it no longer feels so threatened and these people still support the government. Thus the drop in the votes for the AK Party will not be fatal.

Despite all this, the fate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) will also affect the future performance of an AK Party government. On the eve of the elections no one can predict what will happen to the HDP.

If the HDP cannot pass the 10 percent election threshold, the AK Party will probably win all the seats that the HDP deserves and thus win a comfortable majority in Parliament, although that may not be enough to change the Constitution. This may sound good in the first instance, but the fact that all the seats that the HDP would have normally won without the threshold will go to the AK Party and the mass support for the HDP in southeastern Turkey will go down the drain. The election system will create a massive democratic legitimacy problem that the AK Party may find hard to handle at home and abroad.

If the HDP does pass the threshold and win the seats it deserves then it will be bad news for the AK Party as it will not have enough seats to dominate politics as it has before and will have to seek dialogue and cooperation with the opposition despite the fact that it is in government. The image that the HDP is run in the shadows by the PKK will also complicate things in politics. If PKK leaders like Cemil Bayık decide on HDP policies rather than Selahattin Demirtaş and his colleagues then we will see a much more complicated picture in Turkey in the near future.

All these indicate one thing. The AK Party may well remain in power on Monday, but will not have an easy ride from now on.

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