An election with pledges to citizens’ pockets
It was during the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) congress that was held over the weekend in Ankara that I recognized this: The business of the political parties in the general election in November will be difficult.
From June to November; what has changed in four months that political parties have something new to say?
For instance, let us take Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. What other new election pledge would he have made in the congress other than what he said four months ago?
Actually he did say something that meant, “We have beautiful messages concerning the welfare of society.”
Upon this signal, I started wondering whether or not political parties would opt to “play to the pocket of the citizens” in this upcoming election.
If so, then we can witness a political auction. The Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) pledge to give a bonus twice a year before religious holidays to retirees had already created in the AK Party a feeling of “belatedness.”
I guess the AK Party has analyzed this now.
If political parties have nothing extra to say in November then in these upcoming campaigns they may focus on pledges directly to the citizens’ pockets.
If that is the case then the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) may just as well join these monetary pledges focused on “the pocket of the citizen” race. Then, could it be the November election turn into an “auction?”
If political parties want to increase the votes they received in the June election, will they say anything different than what they said in June rallies?
Will they mention human rights, freedoms, a civilian constitution or democratization? And of course will they emphasize that terror should end immediately and that a resolution process should be introduced? These were already said. They are being said. They are all known.
And it is very difficult for political parties to say a new and different thing in the November election.
For this reason, there could be “direct pledges for the pocket” of the retiree, the worker, the civil servant and the farmer.
In order to break this materialistic image, Davutoğlu prefers a discourse filled with sentiment. He uses concepts such as “the love for the country,” “Anatolia’s brave sons” and “The most divine music is the rhythm of the heart…”
Of course, it is tough to compete with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the matter of putting sentiments into words… No other politician is on the horizon that could catch up with the “Istanbul poem” he cited at the Istanbul congress… But Erdoğan is not holding rallies this time…
Let’s evaluate the situation from the angle of the CHP, the MHP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The CHP will repeat freedom pledges and its promises focused on the pocket of the citizen. The MHP may accompany the country’s integrity against terror with its “pocket pledges.” The HDP will play the victim. The AK Party will try to crush the HDP with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
I am not criticizing; these are all colors of democracy.
It is only imagining to expect that political parties will stage a very different election campaign than the one they already worked hard for in June.
For this reason, Nov. 1 is a tough choice for parties looking for new election strategies; it is a choice between imagination and the pocket.