President Erdoğan hints at expanding ‘national alliance’ with two minor parties

President Erdoğan hints at expanding ‘national alliance’ with two minor parties

Gizem Karakış/ Turan Yılmaz - ANKARA
President Erdoğan hints at expanding ‘national alliance’ with two minor parties

An alliance soon to be officially formed between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) could be expanded with the inclusion of two minor parties, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted in a meeting with AKP deputies on Feb. 1.

The two parties he referred to during the meeting at the AKP headquarters in Ankara are the Felicity Party (SP), a small Islamist party, and the Great Union Party (BBP), a nationalist right wing party.

The sum total of the votes of the BBP and the SP in the most recent parliamentary election in November 2015 was slightly more than one percent. But the AKP deems them important for the upcoming presidential elections, in which every vote will count.

Turkey is scheduled to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in November 2019, if the government does not opt to early elections this year.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has vowed to support Erdoğan in the presidential elections and is looking for a formula to secure his party’s entrance in parliament, amid concerns that the MHP could fall below the 10 percent national threshold.

The AKP and the MHP have almost concluded joint work to formalize their pre-election alliance, which they deem a “national alliance,” Erdoğan reportedly informed AKP MPs on Feb. 1.

Erdoğan and Bahçeli are expected to come together next week to finalize the details of the alliance.

“It is wrong to reduce this alliance to election calculations. Along with the MHP, there may be some other parties that want to join this alliance. There are talks with other parties too. We should see it from a larger perspective,” Erdoğan reportedly said at the Feb. 1 meeting.

As a result of the meeting, the current 10 percent threshold is expected to be preserved but adjustments may be made on the ballot paper.

According to this formula, voters will first choose which “alliance” they support and then they will put their stamp on one of the parties inside that alliance. In such a way, each component of the alliance will know how many votes it has received and the number of lawmakers it will be represented by at parliament will be able to be calculated.

Erdoğan, MHP, AKP, alliance