The recently established presidential system has led to the establishment of a bipolar system as parties have started to gather around two election blocs, experts said.
"We have transitioned to a new political sphere and a new way of doing politics after the presidential systems. This new system apparently revolves around two-bloc of parties," Nebi Miş, a political analyst at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), said yesterday in a panel on local elections.
Pointing out that the first example of the new political system was the alliances that were formed for June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, Miş noted that two bloc's mayoral candidates have been competing against each other in 34 provinces for the upcoming elections similar to a single-member district system.
The presidential system was approved as a result of a referendum held on April 16, 2017. One of the immediate consequences of the new presidential system has been realized in electoral alliances. In the former parliamentary system, the political party that received the majority of the votes formed the government. In the current presidential system, on the other hand, the government can only be established by political parties that secure at least 51 percent of the votes. Thus, electoral alliances between political parties have become permanent political alliances.
In relation to the issue, Burhanettin Duran, an academic, stressed that the upcoming elections are different than any other elections in terms of dynamics as it has a key role in the consolidation of the presidential system.
Ahead of the June 24 elections, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) first joined forces with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and formed the People's Alliance. It was followed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which decided to join forces with the far-right Good Party (İP), the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP) to form the Nation Alliance. Alliances extended to the March 31 local elections as well.
Noting that the new political landscape also created new security challenges Ankara faces and the new international role Turkey has been pursuing, Duran emphasized that the People's Alliance formed by the AK Party and the MHP uses rhetoric focused on national interest for this reason. "In this new era, Turkey needs a strong leader, and municipalities are a way to institutionalize this leadership," he added.
Since the initial forming of the alliance, both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the chairman of AK Party, and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli have stressed that the People's Alliance was not simply formed to win elections and that its spirit must be protected in the face of threats posed against Turkey's national security.