Erdoğan will wait for the MHP

Erdoğan will wait for the MHP

The only political struggle in our country seems to be carried out not between the government and opposition but within the ruling party. The main question this struggle revolves around is whether priority would be given to introducing the presidential system or governing the country well until the 2019 elections and scoring another election victory.

As far as I understand, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu prioritized governing the country well until 2019. 

Now, we have reached a brand new phase in this struggle. Davutoğlu withdrew; thus President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who already pulled most of the strings of the government, is now totally at the wheel. 

I am guessing that his game plan depends on the developments in the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).  
If this party ever holds its convention, will there be a change of leader? Every possibility has serious effects on Erdoğan’s and the Justice and Development Party’s (Ak Party) future plans. 

Erdoğan is actually using the power of the government with his extraordinary political power first over his party then over the country’s voters. Now that field will further expand. But there is a difference between a de facto government and an official one based on the constitution. 

Well, what will Erdoğan do to change this de facto situation to a de jure one? 

Even though the close aides of the president are spreading “no snap elections” messages around, actually it is a serious possibility.

However, there are risks in elections. It is not to be taken for granted that both the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and MHP will remain below the election threshold. Besides, the HDP has an option of entering the elections with independent candidates. 

The weakest link is the MHP. Even though this party looks as if it is above the threshold, the eroding trend in its votes has not stopped. 

If the MHP is not able to stop losing votes, this party can be intimidated with snap elections. Then, even though it would not be a full presidential system, this party may be convinced to accept the model of a “president affiliated to a political party” which will enable Erdoğan to be the leader of his party again. 

Even if the losing trend of MHP votes is stopped, early elections are again a possibility. The Ak Party and Erdoğan once more will go to the polls with the aim of winning more than 330 seats in parliament. 

The “strong president-technocrat prime minister” model that we will officially wake up into on the morning of May 23 is not much of a sustainable model because it is not a model but an actual situation that stems from Erdoğan’s extraordinary political power. 

As of Friday, May 5, Erdoğan launched his presidential system campaign with his policy making skills and also with his message of “even if there is no government ruling the country and even if we go from one election to another, I am able to provide stability with my own being.”  

We should expect this campaign to intensify in the coming days and the perception of “the only way out for Turkey is the presidential system.” 

For this reason, early elections will always be spoken in the period ahead of us and most probably a final decision will be made on early elections in a couple of months.