Choosing Joint Candidate: An Arduous Task Awaiting Six-party Alliance in Turkey

Turkish Professor to Majalla: Ruling Coalition Considering Re-election If It Loses

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rivals face an uphill struggle in convincing voters that they could repair Turkey’s economy © AFP via Getty.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rivals face an uphill struggle in convincing voters that they could repair Turkey’s economy © AFP via Getty.

Choosing Joint Candidate: An Arduous Task Awaiting Six-party Alliance in Turkey

The Turkish political circles, and with them the voters who will vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections that the country will witness next year, are waiting to know the name of the candidate to be determined by the "six-party" coalition that was established on February 12 and which will compete in it and face the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or his candidate.

After a party leader from the Turkish alliance announced that they agreed on one candidate, they would not reveal his name soon.

The upcoming elections seem very decisive as they coincide with the centenary of the establishment of the Turkish state, in addition to the continuation of the economic crisis that the country has been suffering from for years and as a result of which the value of the Turkish lira deteriorated against foreign currencies.

That makes the elections gain exceptional importance, especially with the decline in the purchasing power of the population, high rates of inflation and unemployment in addition to the amendments made by the ruling coalition, which includes the Justice and Development parties and the right-wing National Movement to the parties and elections laws earlier this month.

A Turkish academic and professor of political science at Hacettepe Üniversitesi (University), located in the capital Ankara, described the choice of the six-party alliance of one candidate to compete with Erdogan in the upcoming elections as a difficult task.


Leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu (L), leader of IYI Party Meral Aksener (2nd R), Felicity Party (Saadet) leader Temel Karamollaoglu (R), leader of the Democratic Party Gultekin Uysal (3rd L), Future Party (Gelecek) head Ahmet Davutoglu (3rd R), and leader of the Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party Ali Babacan (2nd L) attend the presentation of "Strengthened Parliamentary System" signing ceremony in Ankara on Feb. 28, 2022. - ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images


Academic Mete Kaan Kaynar stressed that "this alliance has not yet determined its candidate, which is something that the alliance may hesitate as long as each party can participate with a single candidate in those elections." Here is the full text of the interview that Majalla conducted by phone with Kaynar, who is based in Ankara:


*Does it seem easy for the parties affiliated with the six-party alliance to agree on one candidate?

First of all, I want to underline that there are no magic shortcuts to deciding on a candidate for the presidency. It is really obvious that it is so hard job for the six-party-alliance to handle this problem. I am sure that no one -including chairmen of the six parties- knows who will select as a candidate for the Nation Alliance today. There are two ways in front of the six-chairmen-alliance: First, they should decide whether they need the joint candidate or not; and then they should decide who is their joint candidate. As you know, the presidency election is two phases, if candidates don’t gain more than 50% of the votes, the second phase of the election will be held. Each of the six-party-alliance may join the first phase of the election with its candidate. It is also a way of policy having some advantage and disadvantage as well can be followed. It can be thought that pointing out the joint candidate who are selected by the ruling elite of each of the six parties-alliance to the voters may cause reluctance. In other words, Voters may reluctant to give their votes to these joint candidates. On contrary, it is also true to say that deciding on the joint candidate at the beginning of the presidential election campaign has some advantages and disadvantages. The first, imminent, and urgent duty of the six-party-alliance is to weigh up all the pros and cons of the matter before making a decision. The question of who the candidate is the second question that the members of the Nation Alliance have to answer.


* As if you want to say that these parties have not yet agreed on the existence of a single candidate to compete with Erdogan?

Of course, the opposition parties have a great chance of winning and ousting Erdogan despite the amendments in the electoral law. The opposition parties hold the self-confidence which is given by the last municipal election held on 31st March 2019 in their hands at the moment. And it is clearly seen that they take a strong downwind to their backs. Obviously, the amendments in the electoral law are just the amendments in order not to be defeated in the next election. In other words, I think that Erdogan understands that he has no way to win the next election and plans to change the rules of the game in order to be defeated. Let me underline that there al a lot of differences between the "playing to win" and the "playing not to be defeated" These amendments also show us Erdogan is started to lose his psychological supremacy. This psychological supremacy has started to pass to the opposition.


Turkish academic and professor of political science at Hacettepe Üniversitesi Mete Kaan Kaynar


* How will the presence of one candidate in the six-party opposition alliance lead to voter hesitation? Can this coalition win in those elections? * Can the six-party alliance win the presidency without the participation of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party?


We can easily say that this alliance will not -and cannot- achieve its political goals without the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). And it can be also very clearly seen that the six-party-alliance has no political weight to win the Turkish presidency without the support of the HDP. As you know the second opposition party in the Turkish Parliament is the HDP, despite the shackles in its ankles. By the way, HDP is still holding the political key to the presidential election in its hands. But I want to point out the detail as well, in some aspects, it is clearly seen that HDP is "the partner"-but, not "the member" of the Nation Alliance. Knowing this political reality, Erdogan has been trying to separate the HDP -which was a partner of AKP during the "Peace and Resolution Process of 2009-2015- and the National Alliance by declaring (and describing) it as a "political enemy"


* If the opposition wins the presidency, can the elections be repeated, as happened in the year 2019 with the municipal elections?

Just speculating, I don’t think that the ruling coalition in Turkey intends to repeat the upcoming elections if it loses them, as happened in Istanbul in 2019. I think that Erdogan has lost his international and national popularity in order to challenge the result of any election (and/or the next election).

Despite its strong political problems, Turkey has the moral and the institutional power coming from its history, for tackling the people who may not want to obey the result of the next election. I strongly think (and wish) that Erdogan will return his home easily and the new government will take the responsibility as soon as possible.

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