Parliament opens with more questions over coalition

Parliament opens with more questions over coalition

Turkey’s parliament convened June 23, two weeks after general elections that gave none of the four parties to cross the 10 percent national threshold enough seats to form a single-party government. Thus, Turkish politics have been intensely focused on coalition scenarios in an effort to make a sound forecast about the country’s next government. 

With parliament beginning its official functions, the first question, however, is who will be the next parliamentary speaker, the number-two in Turkish state protocol. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already stated that he will give the mandate to form the government to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. 

So, for many analysts, the election of the parliamentary speaker will constitute a litmus test about the potential partnerships between the parties that could well be read as a signal of the coalition government.

However, the dynamics of the election of the speaker seem to be much different and will unlikely have an impact on coalition negotiations. 

The most important reason for this is the fact that official negotiations on the government will begin after the election of the parliamentary speaker. Although Erdoğan could give the mandate right after the oath-taking ceremony, he has chosen to wait until the election of the parliamentary speaker is completed. The idea behind Erdoğan’s strategy could be to avoid complicating the coalition talks with the election process and keep the prestigious seat in the hands of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

In the event that the three oppositional parties cannot agree on a common candidate or if they cannot introduce contenders that would receive votes from other opposition parties, the AKP will eventually get the seat in the last round of the elections. The parliamentary speaker can play a very vital role in parliamentary works such as establishing investigative commissions into corruption allegations against ministers and delivering them to the General Assembly for a vote. Having the most seats in parliament, the AKP’s first option is to keep this position in its control. 

Then will come official talks to be launched by Davutoğlu. The prime minister is planning to meet with each of the three other leaders and then to build a team to carry out further talks for the formation of the coalition government. The question is whether Davutoğlu will agree on a government with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a grand coalition or with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Alternatively, all the talks could fail to produce a government, meaning Erdoğan could take the country to snap elections this fall. 

Both the CHP and MHP have introduced very important conditions obstructing any alliance with the AKP, and this past two weeks have only proven the complexity of the process. Considering that we still have another 10 days until the beginning of the official talks and given the fact that this bargaining process could take weeks, the situation could turn into a puzzle that the political system is unable to resolve.