Government talks to begin with diminishing hopes for grand coalition

Government talks to begin with diminishing hopes for grand coalition

Government talks to begin with diminishing hopes for grand coalition A grand coalition between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) is unlikely, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said. 

“I regard the possibility for AKP-CHP government as low,” he said. 

The social democratic leader believes that the AKP’s acceptance of his previously announced 14-article principles was well-nigh impossible, saying, “I openly say that it will be difficult for them to adopt our conditions when we put them in front of them.”

The CHP’s principles consist of “rebuilding the rule of law; completing amending laws that are a legacy of the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup d’état; adopting a law on political ethics; strengthening the social state; revoking a discretionary fund that has been allocated to the president; changing Turkey’s foreign policy; expanding the spectrum of freedoms for the youth; reducing bans in line with human rights; ensuring media freedoms; preventing the misuse of tax auditing; forming a final account commission in parliament; drafting a libertarian constitution and fighting corruption as well as ensuring President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not exceed his constitutional powers.” 

Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu is to launch the first rounds of talks this week with three oppositional parties for the formation of a coalition government, starting with the CHP on July 13.

Davutoğlu and four of his aides will visit the CHP’s headquarters on July 13 at 2 p.m. to hold talks with Kılıçdaroğlu and his aides. The prime minister’s second address will be the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on July 14 at 2 p.m. and his last stop will be the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) on July 15 at 11 a.m. The AKP will continue talks next week in line with the outcome of these first rounds of meetings with the three parties.

A 45-day deadline for the formation of the government expires on Aug. 24. In the event Davutoğlu fails to form a government, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will give the mandate to Kılıçdaroğlu. A failure to make a government will result in snap election within 90 days.

With its 258 seats, only 18 short of forming a single-party government, the AKP’s most probable partners will be either the 132-seat CHP or the 80-seat MHP. However, both Kılıçdaroğlu and the MHP’s Devlet Bahçeli have suggested each other as the best partner for the AKP, showing their unwillingness to share the government with the ruling party. 

AKP-MHP easier

For Kılıçdaroğlu, a partnership between the AKP and the MHP is more likely because these two parties have a similar worldview and garner votes from similar social and political segments of the Turkish people. “We should also consider that the MHP’s support for the AKP during the parliament speaker elections should be counted as a plus point. Therefore, I think the formation of an AKP-MHP coalition would be a lot easier than forming an AKP-CHP government,” he said. 

Kılıçdaroğlu said he would listen to Davutoğlu at the meeting to understand on what grounds the AKP wished to build the coalition government. 

Erdoğan on the same page as Kılıçdaroğlu

Erdoğan lent indirect support to Kılıçdaroğlu’s views, speaking out against a partnership between the AKP and the CHP. Erdoğan’s views were shared by HDP Gaziantep deputy Celal Doğan, who held a surprise meeting with the president last week. 

“Here is his assessment [on a coalition]. ‘We would have difficulty with the CHP,’ he told me. ‘Our grassroots with the MHP are closer to each other,’” Doğan told daily Cumhuriyet on July 12. 

According to Doğan, Erdoğan opposed the description of the AKP-MHP government as a “war coalition” but preferred to call it an “election government.”  

Doğan, a veteran politician and former MP from the CHP as well as mayor of Gaziantep, said the impression he has from his conversation with Erdoğan is that the president favors early elections this November.