Opposition leadership changes unlikely despite voters sentiment

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
Published 05.11.2015 21:57

Despite opposition parties having experienced heavy losses in the Nov. 1 early elections, the first post-election survey conducted by Ipsos research found a continuing negative trend for the opposition parties. According to a survey conducted in all 81 provinces after Sunday's election, while support for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) remains at 25 percent, 3 percent of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters in the survey said they would not vote for the party, which would leave the MHP under the 10 percent national threshold if there were to be another election. It was found that 80 percent of participating MHP voters do not want MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli at the head of the party. Likewise, 56 percent of CHP voters in the survey said they want a new leadership instead of current CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

However, both leaders seem to be ignoring voter sentiment as they announced they will not resign. Responding to the question on whether he would resign on election night, Kılıçdaroğlu said the executive bodies of the party would decide on the matter. Following the CHP's Central Administration Board (MYK) meeting on Tuesday, CHP Secretary General Gürsel Tekin said there is yet "no problem" that requires Kılıçdaroğlu's resignation. Likewise, Bahçeli also ruled out rumors about his resignation with a series of tweets on his official account. "I would give my head but not take a step back," Bahçeli tweeted on Wednesday.

Commenting on the issue Mustafa Altunoğlu, an expert on politics, told Daily Sabah that the current political structure in Turkey is a result of the 1980 coup laws, so it makes it difficult to change party leaders through the voters' will. Altunoğlu said in both the CHP and MHP it is especially hard for a chairman to be changed without the will of the current chairman. "The person who has control over the party delegation will have control over the entire party, thus such support changing instantly is almost impossible unless the chairman wants to," Altunoğlu said. "Though it is difficult to anticipate what the results might be in the next elections if the CHP and MHP decide to continue with Kılıçdaroğlu and Bahçeli, there would not be a drastic change in the CHP's votes as it is the party with the least voter flexibility. Regarding the MHP, I believe the same thing that happened in the Nov. 1 elections would happen once again and the party would face a decrease in votes."

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