The elections in Turkey and the HDP

Published 05.06.2015 23:53
Updated 06.06.2015 00:00

If the HDP fails to pass the election threshold, the party can enter a harsh re-evaluation process and the rift between moderates and extremists within the party may become more visible

On Sunday Turkey will have another important election for its political history. So far, the only certain thing about the election results is the ranking of the parties in accordance with their popular votes. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will again win this election and there will still be a major gap between the votes of the AK Party and main opposition party Republican People's Party (CHP). Both the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will not likely receive a significant increase in their votes. All the main public opinion polls and reports predict this result.

The elections will take place at an important juncture when there are debates on the necessity of a new constitution, the reconciliation process has come to a critical period and there are debates about the change of the government system. In fact, the elections will not only determine the winning party, but also the fate of these different initiatives and plans. What made the elections a little different than the previous ones is the possibility of a fourth party, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), passing the 10 percent election threshold to enter Parliament as a party. Most of the analyses on the elections were basically the speculations of different results. Although there is only one day until the elections, different polls still gives conflicting results about the percent of HDP votes. An important part of this unpredictability is the very high amount of undecided voters. With the decrease of the percentage of these undecided voters as we approach the elections, it is becoming harder for the HDP to get the necessary votes to pass the threshold. If this trend continues and if we see a very high turnout like the local elections last year, we might see a three-party Parliament again. But then the question arises about the scenarios after the failure of the HDP to pass the threshold. If the HDP gets less than 10 percent of popular vote, the AK Party will gain another predominant majority with the necessary number of seats to take a new constitution to a referendum. This would make it possible to see a new constitution and possibly a referendum after the elections.

A failure of the HDP to pass the threshold will also result in debates about the fate of the reconciliation process. In recent weeks, especially statements from HDP members about the process significantly endangered the fate of the historic process. However, despite this, it looks like the process will continue in some way if the political actors recognize defeat in the elections and respect democratic mechanisms and pursue dialogue. If on the other hand the HDP does not recognize its failure and instead pursues a defiant path against democratic legitimacy, the reconciliation process will still survive, but the HDP may not have the legitimacy to become a party to this process. The government will most likely continue its reforms in regard to the region.

The failure of the HDP will also result in a major debate within the HDP. The recent orientation of the party, its harsh rhetoric and its discourse may be re-evaluated as a result of this development. The rift between moderates and extremists may be more visible if the party fails to pass the threshold.

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