AK Party-CHP coalition gov't becoming more likely

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
Published 30.06.2015 20:11
Updated 30.06.2015 20:12
AK Party-CHP coalition gov't becoming more likely

Since the announcement of the June 7 general election results, a right-wing coalition comprising of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was considered the most likely scenario, however, the winds in Ankara's political circles have changed and it currently is blowing in favor of a coalition between the AK Party and the Republican People's Party (CHP).

After the June 7 election, a right-wing coalition between the AK Party and the MHP was considered the most convenient partnership, not because of the ideological affinity between the two parties but also the tendencies of voters. However, unofficial consultations between AK Party and MHP officials haven't produced promising results mainly due to the uncompromising stance of MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli. The likelihood of such a coalition decreases by the day.

On the other hand, political sources said that unofficial consultations between AK Party and CHP officials have sped up after a senior CHP official's announcement that they have no precondition for forming a coalition with the AK Party and a possible AK Party- CHP coalition could be realized in the coming days. Sources also indicate that the distribution of ministries and possible ideas on a coalition government program have already started to be discussed between the sides. Accordingly, the CHP would like to have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labor, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Development, Ministry of Justice and two deputy prime ministries. While the CHP's request to have most of these ministries is considered as conceivable by the AK Party, sources indicated that there could be no compromise on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Justice.

The biggest differences between the two parties would center on foreign policy and education policy. In foreign policy, Syria remains the biggest source of disagreement between the sides. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu constantly criticizes the AK Party's Syrian policy. His promise to send "oppressed" Syrian refugees back to their war-torn country was heavily criticized by AK Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu. In education policy, the AK Party is backing legislation on primary and secondary education usually termed as "4+4+4" (four years of primary education, first level, four years of primary education, second level and four years of secondary education), however the CHP is keen to stop this system and close religious vocational high schools called Imam Hatip High Schools. Besides this, control of the Ministry of Justice, which is another area where the AK Party and CHP visions clash, will be hotly contested during government negotiations.

Despite there being problematic areas between the two parties, an AK Party-CHP coalition seems more possible than early elections and these issues are expected to be solved when official coalition talks start in the coming weeks.

In the June 7 elections, the AK Party and the CHP received 40.7 and 25.1 percent of the vote, respectively. Accordingly, an AKP-CHP coalition would represent 65.9 percent of the popular vote and hold 70.9 percent of the seats in the Turkish legislature, totaling 390 seats, which is even enough to change the Turkish constitution.

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