Turkish opposition steps up preparations for next polls

Turkish opposition steps up preparations for next polls

Next week on Oct. 1, the Turkish Parliament will resume its work that will close a long summer season for politics and political parties. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who will address parliamentarians on that day, is expected to give important messages concerning domestic politics and future moves of his government.

Likewise, the opposition alliance seems to have stepped up its preparations for the new political period ahead. There were three important developments in the past week. First of all, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has revived the debate about the Kurdish question by identifying the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) as the legitimate interlocutor.

This move came at a moment when a closure case against the HDP is being seen at the Constitutional Court and has been described as an attempt to win the hearts of the Kurdish voters before the next elections. Many political commentators interpreted Kılıçdaroğlu’s statement as a covert manifestation of his potential candidacy for the presidency, arguing that Kurdish voters would definitely prefer his candidacy over Meral Akşener from the İYİ (Good) Party.

Then came the statement of Akşener who surprised many by announcing that she would not run for the president but the prime minister although the current system has no such position. According to İYİ Party officials, Akşener’s words aimed to underline the importance of changing the current executive-parliamentary system with a strengthened parliamentary system with a strong prime minister.

She reiterated her belief that the Nation Alliance, which brings the opposition parties together, should compromise over a joint presidential candidate but also said that the alliance will propose a dual system.

Her statement was interpreted by many that she will approve Kılıçdaroğlu’s nomination on the conditions that the priority of the new government should be preparing necessary conditions for a return to a parliamentary system. What complicates this plan is the fact that the opposition should garner at least 360 seats in the parliament to propose a constitutional amendment. Of course, the opposition parties with different ideological backgrounds should also compromise over the new system and other constitutional amendments.

The third development of the past week was about this last point. Senior officials from the six oppositional parties met to discuss how to draft a road map for returning to the parliamentary system. Along with the CHP, İYİ Party, the Felicity Party, and the Democrat Party that make up the Nation Alliance, the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and the Future Party were also represented at the meeting, signaling that they can join the alliance in the coming period. Kılıçdaroğlu, in an interview over the weekend, said the Nation Alliance could expand in due course, referring to the DEVA and the Future Party. He implied that the HDP would not be a part of the Nation Alliance and pursue its independent strategy.

As seen, the opposition has accelerated its preparations for the next elections, and the period ahead will witness more acts from both the government and the oppositional alliances.