Messages from ballot boxes
These local elections in which two big alliances did run against each other delivered important messages for both the government and the opposition. The electorate has given a warning to the government but without causing a major instability.
The surprise of these elections was Ankara while a neck-to-neck race has been observed in Istanbul. The governmental alliance supported the Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidates while the opposition lent backing to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) nominees. But it was the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that made utmost profit of the polls. On the one hand, it doubled the number of municipalities and on the other it had a major influence on the AKP’s political language.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has opted to nominate candidates who can also get votes from the conservative segments of the society and who can establish direct dialogue with the people at the expense of creating unrest in his party. Election results have proven Kılıçdaroğlu to be right. The next question whether this choice of Kılıçdaroğlu will have its reflections on the CHP leadership and political lines?
These elections have seen a major competition between the national survival campaign by the government and the economy-related issues by the opposition. “It seems that our message on national survival has been well understood by our people,” said President Erdoğan in his first address after the elections.
But the people’s message did also include deteriorated economic conditions while acknowledging the problems over national survival in a very balanced manner.
The Turkish politics is entering a new era in which a dual political party system is seemingly appearing in line with the introduction of executive-presidential system. The introduction of 50 percent barrier system will oblige the parties to run in alliances as they will no chance in an individual competition.
Another surprising aspect of these polls was the HDP. President Erdoğan had thanked to the Kurdish brothers in his address after the June 2018 elections. The same Kurds played another major role in these elections, too. It seems a majority of the HDP votes has been transferred to the CHP in these elections.
The local elections were of matters of destiny for the İYİ Party. It is obvious that İYİ Party, which aimed success by forming an alliance with the CHP, put up a poor show. For Meral Akşener, the bells for danger continue to ring. But, it is not possible to say the same think about Kılıçdaroğlu.
The resignation of Kılıçdaroğlu cannot be requested in accordance with these results. On the contrary, Kılıçdaroğlu came out of the elections stronger. Nevertheless, CHP has gathered Ekrem İmamoğlu, who recites the prayer Yasin-i Sharif in the mosque, who do not have a problem with anyone’s religion and who can appeal to the center-right wing, as a calm but strong asset.
The results are quite important for the ruling and opposition parties.
The first statement made by President Erdoğan regarding the election results indicates that the message from the ballot box has been received. The fundamental question is that will this be reflected in the political style and language of the AKP, will the party return to its reformist and libertarian identity?
Erdoğan has in a sense put forward the road map of the new era, in his speech. He thinks that the elections reaffirmed confidence in the AKP. “We came out as the triumph party in the elections,” he said.
After a very acrimonious electioneering, Erdoğan showed that he welcomed the election results with a democratic maturity.
“Every gain and every loss is the appreciation of our nation. It is a condition for democracy,” he said.
His emphasis of 2023 was both internal and external.
“We have 4.5 years ahead of us. We will always look ahead,” he said.
The president also underlined that there is no election until 2023. Kılıçdaroğlu, also, said that “We will not be opportunists by calling early elections,” before the election. Turkey is exhausted from elections.
There is a lot work to be done, especially in economy and democratization, until 2023. Nevertheless, the opposition’s statements begun to change as of the election night. I wondered; will we have four and a half years without an election?