Best possible strategy for the opposition for Çankaya
If you ask me, the best possible strategy would have been to start the search for a presidential candidate at least one year before, hold primary elections in the provinces for a competition among the candidates and determine the individual after this process. The opposition parties did not do that.
Thus, it is meaningless to talk about a strategy when there are 70 days left until the election; only some “tactical” steps can be taken.
While the political map of the country and the ruling party’s strong candidates are out there, there is an issue that needs to be decided as a priority from the point of the opposition bloc. Should the first round be the target or should they aim with all their might for the elections to have a second round?
These are not the same options. Let me try to explain:
This “joint candidate” formula, which was first suggested by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and rejected by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), but was later adopted by the CHP when the MHP suggested it, means trying to form an alliance in the first round against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
If a “joint candidate” is agreed upon, then the other parties should either not have any candidates or participate in the first round with weak candidates.
Those who suggest this formula say in every case, there is a possibility that the AK Party wins the election in the first round. According to them, the only way to minimize this possibility is to exert full force right at the beginning.
The rationale here is this: If the election is lost in the first round, it will be lost anyway. But if there is a chance to win, only such a joint candidate could make them win the elections. If the election has a second round, then nothing will change and it is not a loss; accounts will be settled in the second round.
However, there are those who think it is a high probability that the AK Party wins the election in the first round; for this reason, tactics to divert the opposition votes (more than 50 percent) outside the AK Party as much as possible; in other words, for each party to enter the first round with their strongest candidate so that their votes are maximized.
Let us name it here: The most important and at the same time most risky -depending on the situation- link of the opposition bloc is the MHP voter.
There is no doubt about the MHP voter in the first round, but in the second round, it is a strong possibility that at least a portion of these voters will be oriented toward the AK Party instead of a candidate they do not identify with.
So, if there is a “joint candidate” to be, that person should either be from MHP or somebody who the MHP voter will see as close to themself. The reason for this is that while the transitivity between the CHP and AK Party voter is very small, there is a very strong transitivity between the MHP and AK Party voter. In other words, the CHP voter would vote for a MHP candidate for Çankaya in a bloc, but MHP voters would vote less for a CHP candidate.
And even a 1 or 2 percent shift could seriously affect the outcome of the election.
The essential matter the opposition must decide is this: Will Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s votes increase in the second round or will they stay the same?
If it is assumed they will increase, then to focus on the first round with full force would be a more correct tactic for the opposition.
If it is assumed they will not increase and that the first round of votes for Erdoğan are his maximum, then it would be more correct for the opposition to target for the election having a second round.