PM’s calculations may get ruffled
It is apparent that Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli have agreed on a joint candidate.
With Kılıçdaroğlu’s nomination of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and Bahçeli’s acceptance of this suggestion, a new phase has started in the presidential elections.
From the beginning, I was thinking that a “common candidate” was not a good idea and I had written that. My suggestion was for each political party to participate in the first round with names that would not bother people from other political views. Then, they would form an alliance in the second round on the candidate who received the highest vote.
We have now passed that phase.
We may have differences from the point of political thinking with İhsanoğlu, but I have no objection to his intellectual richness, his esteemed scientific identity and his representation abilities.
Now, the whole matter is about whether or not the organizations of the two largest opposition parties, together or separately, will genuinely and devotedly work for this joint candidate.
This is an issue about how much control the party chairs and executives have over their organizations. We will see whether this joint campaign will be conducted effectively once the election process begins.
It is obvious that - unless there is a big surprise - the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate will be Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Will the prime minister suffer from the policy of consolidating his supporter masses by polarizing the country for general and local elections, or will these policies in his favor, once more? This is the question now.
The prime minister, with this policy, has created a serious portion of the population that is very dedicated to him and he is able to keep them united by making tension climb.
However, it should not be forgotten that he has to gain more than 50 percent of the vote to win this election in the first round, and the identity that İhsanoğlu represents - which the CHP and the MHP have allied around - could scupper his first round victory dreams.
İhsanoğlu is not a strange name, not only for the CHP and MHP voter, but at the same time for the voters of parties such as the Felicity Party (SP) and the Great Union Party (BBP).
For this reason, we can say that the prime minister’s job has become more difficult for the elections.
Acceptance of conservatism
The fact a party such as the CHP, which claims to be a social democratic party, has nominated İhsanoğlu as presidential candidate tells us one thing in particular: The social democratic opposition of Turkey is also accepting and declaring that the country’s voters have shifted toward the right and they have become conservative.
It looks inevitable now that this will trigger new confrontations within the CHP.
While half of the Turkish voters admires Erdoğan, the other half has difficulty tolerating him.
For this reason, the top priority now for the CHP voter is to make Erdoğan lose the presidential elections. Only after the elections, if İhsanoğlu loses, will we see the political consequences of this within the CHP.