Quagmire: The 2015 parliamentary elections

Published 11.06.2015 23:44

The fact that four political parties entered Parliament did not improve the nation's political landscape either. Nor did the Justice and Development Party's competitors overcome their geographical limits

It is possible to draw various conclusions from the 2015 parliamentary elections. Two issues are particularly important. First, the core components of the 2002 revolution remain intact and second, the election results reaffirm the Turkish-style parliamentary system's capacity for dead ends. The main political and social features of the country did not become visible until the 2002 parliamentary elections. Today, shifts between voter blocs determine the course of political change. A particularly interesting aspect of recent changes was the fact that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) each claimed 80 seats in Parliament although the MHP received approximately 1.5 million more votes. This situation alone attests to the challenging dynamics of Turkey's parliamentary system.

The fact that four political parties entered Parliament did not improve the nation's political landscape either. Nor did the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) competitors overcome their geographical limits. If anything, they either expanded their existing bases or lost some of their influence. In other words, opposition parties failed to bridge the gap between the country's fragmented political blocs and social groups.

Observers who like to offer preferential treatment to the HDP, too, have been completely wrong about the elections. Although the HDP leadership has been vocally opposed to any kind of coalition government, it would not have been able to pass the 10 percent election threshold without engaging in the usual give-and-take of national politics. Over the next months, the HDP's sponsor will find it extremely difficult to steer the movement - perhaps more difficult than facilitating its strong performance.

The greatest challenge, however, relates to the question of political power. It is true that the June 7 general elections facilitated political representation at a primitive level, yet fell short of addressing this most crucial issue. In other words, the ballot box effectively delegated the right to determine power holders to Parliament, which is exactly what the problem has long been with the parliamentary system.

At this point, Turkey needs to address the problem of political power in order to escape this vicious cycle. We must first and foremost tackle the question of why the leading political party, which won the race by a large margin, finds itself compelled to partake in a coalition government. The opposition's failure to develop viable alternatives to the ruling party's vision and the MHP's call for early elections renders Sunday's elections meaningless.

The situation described above was exactly why many observers had warned that the elections might not create anything but a vicious cycle. In light of Sunday's election results, those who dare to challenge the existing set of rules stand to gain from the future.

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