Erdoğan’s election calendar and the economy
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conveyed important messages during the meeting with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies.
One deputy brought up the issue of the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office.
“If the current Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman is preferred, we respect that, but if it is going to be someone else, we need to clarify the criteria for the parliamentary speaker,” he said. Erdoğan took note of all that was said and answered them one by one.
Yet he did not mention the issue of the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office. Meanwhile, the process of the application for parliamentary speaker had already begun.
Along with Kahraman, the names of Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, AKP Deputy Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş, Constitution Committee head Ahmet İyimaya and the head of the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee, Professor Burhan Kuzu were being discussed within the AKP.
The deputies did not bring the topic of the election threshold to the agenda and the president did not mention this issue either.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli had said the 10 percent threshold was too high and wanted to clarify whether it “would be five percent, seven percent or stay at 10 percent.”
The 10 percent threshold was applied by the Sept. 12, 1980 Turkish military government in order to block the Islamist and Kurdish parties from entering parliament. Today, however, this application no longer has meaning.
Even though the MHP representatives state they have no fear of a threshold, the fact that they noticed the 10 percent threshold after 37 years is related to the newly founded Good Party (İyi Parti) leader Meral Akşener’s rise in politics.
The AKP has completed its study on political parties and electoral law within the context of adjustment laws.
It will be presented to Erdoğan and they will work on it again before presenting it to parliament in December.
Based on this study:
1- The 10 percent threshold will be preserved.
2- A narrowed constituency system has been proposed.
3- The path for an alliance has been paved before the elections.
He had also argued that the 10 percent threshold should be maintained to ensure the government’s stability.
However, Erdoğan gave importance to Bahçeli’s preferences because he wants to maintain close ties with the MHP in the 2019 presidency elections as well.
That is why the topic of the threshold has generated such interest.
In his meeting with the deputies, the president also discussed the issue of the mayors who were forced to resign from their posts.
“I went to the districts of the mayors, and when I visited their homes, I listened to their complaints. We would not have had them resign if it were not a problem, but we will maintain our relations with those who have resigned,” he said.
During the AKP’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting, Erdoğan had underlined that the rights of the resigned mayors would be protected.
This time however, he only said: “Our relations will continue.”
At the meeting, the president gave important messages regarding the future. It is possible to summarize these messages in two headlines:
1- The economy is priority.
2- The elections will take place on time.
Erdoğan had identified 2017 as a year of change, 2018 as a year of action and 2019 as a year of elections on the road map he had made after the April 16 referendum.
He also said during the meeting that the elections would take place “on time,” closing the door on the possibility of an early election. His remarks eliminate the scenario of an early election on July 15, 2018.
“There is an important election in 2019. We need to work hard for it,” said Erdoğan.
There are three elections in 2019 but the main highlight will be the presidential elections, since not only will the president be elected, but the presidential government system will be enacted.
In this way he will achieve the presidential system he has dreamed of.
That is why he been focusing on the presidential elections since the evening of April 16.
Every step Erdoğan has taken has borne 2019 in mind.
In the past, the main issue about the presidential elections was the military’s possible reaction, but today it is all about what the nation will say as the goal is to achieve 50 percent-plus-one of the votes.
The 50 percent-plus-one goal has become so central to Turkish politics that he has even felt the need to emphasize the importance of Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
The AKP never had an “Atatürk problem” and the AKP never had a problem with Atatürk.
But the AKP has never before been as “Atatürkist” as today. We can already see the effects of the 50 percent-plus-one calculation.