AK Party’s place in coalition scenarios

Published 26.06.2015 17:00
Updated 03.08.2015 14:33

Right now the question in Turkish politics that everyone wants the answer to is whether there will be a coalition or early elections sometime soon. No one, including politicians, knows the answer to this question. On the first level, the coalition possibility seems stronger. The four parties with seats in parliament have been pointing to a coalition since the results of the election were announced. In truth, this situation surprised the party base and analysts. Because in the period up to the June 7 general election, there were very harsh discourse battles between the opposition parties of the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Secondly, the AK Party formed its election propaganda on the idea of "the harms of coalition." Thirdly, opposition parties asked for votes from voters with the promise of a Turkey administered without the presence of the AK Party. Despite all of these, after the announcement of the election results, all of the party leaders were careful to paint a moderate picture. All four party leaders showed themselves willing to play the coalition game, and none wanted to be seen as the spoilsport.

AK Party head, Ahmet Davutoğlu, indicated that while they were celebrating being the biggest party, they would also make the necessary adjustments for why they were unable to form the administration by themselves. And from the election on, the AK Party has joined in the game of coalition while also conducting its own internal accounting. Although the CHP suffered a serious defeat in these elections, according to many commentators, it counted itself as having been successful. It tried to portray itself as the representative of the 60 percent who did not vote for the AK Party. But the MHP, which is also in this 60 percent, took a stance against this discourse and emphasized that considering those who did not vote for the AK Party as a single bloc as a mistaken approach.

While the MHP and the HDP have the least amount of seats in parliament, they came out of this election as the two happiest parties. Both parties thought they came out victorious from the election. However, both parties consider the other as the "founder other," and especially the MHP is very careful to not be seen in the same frame as the HDP. The AK Party is still in a key position, just as it was when it was the single party in administration. In light of current facts, it does not seem possible to consider a coalition scenario where the AK Party is not included. One of the things that make the AK Party important is the following. The AK Party is in a position where it will sustain the least damage and even profit from the possibility of a coalition not being formed. Despite this, the AK Party is acting like a negotiator on the topic of coalition. This action is allowing for a gradually expanding area for political maneuvering.

In the case of early elections, the CHP, the MHP, and the HDP could all lose their place. No matter the fact that the possibility of the MHP experiencing loss is less than that faced by the CHP and the HDP, early elections would also be a risky process for the MHP. In spite of the anti-AK Party opposition that formed and gained a more radical position as time wore on before the election, all three parties are now writing the scenarios for what type of coalition they can form with the AK Party. The parties that excluded the AK Party are now questioning what processes and strategies they can use to include the AK Party.

Although the AK Party is saying that their doors are open to everyone, it won't be in search of a coalition with the HDP. There are two reasons for this. The first is the developments in the region. It does not seem possible to form a partnership in the foreseeable future with the HDP in a conjuncture where the PYD, as the arm of the PKK in northern Syria, is becoming stronger. Second, the radical politics used by the HDP in the election process on the axis of opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan limits the compromise opportunities of the AK Party with it.

Right now, the elections for assembly heads is coming up in Turkish politics. Parliament will choose a leader for itself and the parties have announced their candidates. It seems that the assembly president will not be determined in the first round because it is necessary to obtain 367 votes from members of the assembly for a candidate to be chosen in the first round. But in the last round, two candidates will compete and whoever receives the most votes will win.

The election for assembly heads can give an indication of the possible coalition that could be formed. If the impossible is achieved and the CHP, the HDP, and the MHP can unite around one candidate, a new political conjuncture might be possible. But if the AK Party allows for the process to continue in its natural way, it can get its own candidate elected. During this process, the AK Party might talk about the separation in legislative and executive organs and express the idea that the election of the assembly head is about choosing the head of the legislative organ, while the coalition is about the executive organ.

Turkey is experiencing coalition arguments for the first time after 13 years. But this time, a party that was the administration for the past 13 years still forms the main body of the administration to be formed.

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