Who will compete against Erdoğan in 2019?
All speculations are being made in accordance with the presidential elections in 2019.
When Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), concluded his march from Ankara to Istanbul with great success, some journalists claimed he would be the presidential candidate. Looking at his previous statements, I argued that he would not be a candidate because he was against the idea of a party’s leader becoming a presidential candidate. In fact, I added that they were looking for a Macron (French president) against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Some among the Justice and Development Party (AKP) told me they did not share my analysis.
Ruling AKP’s strategy
The AKP cadres think that Kılıçdaroğlu would stand as the CHP’s candidate. This is their argument:
“In the 2014 presidential elections, the CHP and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] named a joint candidate. In politics, asking votes for others but not yourself is not a valid method for leaders. That’s why their formula did not work in 2014. With the “Justice March,” Kılıçdaroğlu elevated himself from the head of the CHP to the leader of the whole opposition. He is also being elevated from the leadership of a political opposition to the leadership of the opposition of the society. There is an effort to position him beyond the CHP’s identity.
For the presidential elections of 2019 their aim is to prevent the election of Erdoğan in the first round. That’s why they will ask the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP] not to nominate a candidate so they can propose Kılıçdaroğlu as the joint candidate.”
This is the picture seen from the AKP’s perspective. The analysis of this picture is like this:
“If Kılıçdaroğlu will compete with Erdoğan; when the AKP constituency is asked a choice between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu, they will opt for the former.”
This is important because it was revealed that in the April 16 referendum, 5 percent of the AKP constituency did not vote “yes.” This outcome brought with it the concern whether a similar phenomenon can happen in the presidential elections. But they also found out that those who voted “no” said their objection was against the new system and that they will vote for Erdoğan in the presidential elections.
What did Kılıçdaroğlu say?
There is also the MHP constituency, whom 38 percent of them voted “yes” in the constitutional referendum. The MHP constituency shows an interesting tendency. In 2014, when the MHP and the CHP nominated a joint candidate, one third of the MHP voters supported Erdoğan.
Therefore, will MHP voters cast their vote for Erdoğan or Kılıçdaroğlu?
These questions are important, but what is more important is whether Kılıçdaroğlu will be a candidate or not. I asked Kılıçdaroğlu. He said, “Let’s see.”