First-round alliance mooted on the “no” front

Due to the snap election, the opposition is preparing to change the strategy of everyone fielding their own candidate in the first round of the presidential election and supporting the highest-polling candidate in the second round. CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, who will speak to SP leader Karamollaoğlu on Monday, has a number of options in his pocket.

21 Nisan 2018 Cumartesi, 17:40
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CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu received and spoke with children who wrote letters
to Atatürk and made these letters into a book as part an event by Mudanya Muncipality.
Due to the time constraints now the AKP-MHP have decided on a snap election, there is talk
of a potential change being made to the electoral strategy of the political parties included in
the “no” block of everyone fielding their own candidate in the first round of the presidential
election and supporting the highest-polling candidate in the second round. CHP General
Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who will hold discussions with the parties on the “no” wing
starting with the Felicity Party, is expected to moot various options including taking the
election in the first round with a joint candidate. The top-ranking potential names for the
block the opposition will create are “The Country First” or “Democracy First.”
 
The new week will see hectic “alliance and cooperation” comings and goings between the
political parties which were part of the “no” block in the 16 April referendum and are
expected to cooperate in the presidential and parliamentary general election on 24 June, set to
be the most important election in the history of the Republic and end in systemic change. The
first step taken in this direction will be the paying of a visit by SP General Chair Temel
Karamollaoğlu to CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu. Before the visit, the following options and
possibilities for electoral cooperation and alliances are being spoken of in opposition
corridors:
 
Strategy may change due to time constraints: Until the taking of the snap election
decision, the “no” block members CHP, HDP, Good Party and Felicity Party argued that
there was a need for the making of a “unity of principles” over the presidential elections and
for everyone to field their own candidate in the first round. Indeed, Good Party General Chair
Meral Akşener announced her presidential candidacy, too, shortly after having founded the
party. As such, the mooted plan had been for the CHP, SP, HDP and Good Party to field their
own candidates in the first round and support the highest-polling candidate who makes it into
the second round. However, due to time constraints with the elections having been brought
forward and President Tayyip Erdoğan for his part setting his sights on taking the election in 
the first round, a change in strategy and method may be embarked on aimed at taking the
election in the first round.
 
A formula for a joint candidate may be mooted: One of the options spoken of in this
regard, the option of fielding a joint candidate, which the CHP is not keen on in view of the
past fiasco experienced under the candidacy of “umbrella candidate” Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu,
is inviting fresh debate. Proponents of this position point to the need for this to be the
preferred method due to time constraints and Erdoğan setting his sights on taking the election
in the first round and to avoid the opposition competing among themselves over the
candidacy and creating the appearance of disarray. Kılıçdaroğlu will apparently moot various
options including taking the election in the first round with a joint candidate at his meeting
with Karamollaoğlu on Monday. Depending on the result to emerge from here, it is said that a
similar proposal may be taken to Good Party leader Akşener.
 
DISCUSSIONS FOCUS ON THE ALLIANCE AND SETTLING ON A CANDIDATE
Search for agreement over principles: The main thrust of the CHP leader’s opposition talks
is expected to involve the creation of “principles for a union of forces in the elections.” As
such, if there is agreement over a single candidate in the first round, the undertakings with
post-electoral effect made to the public over such fundamentals as “a return to the
parliamentary system and the separation of powers” and the manner in which the parties
forming the union of forces will be represented in the government following the election will
be resolved on. Should agreement be reached on a course of action with each party fielding
its own candidate in the first round, the principles for supporting the party’s candidate who
makes it into the second round and also a protocol containing undertakings with post-
electoral effect will be compiled.
 
Can Akşener or Gül be the joint candidate?: Names of potential candidates are also doing
the rounds in opposition corridors presuming agreement is reached on a joint candidate. The
option of Abdullah Gül, on whom the CHP is not at all keen, is still said to be on the agenda.
There is a claim that, depending on the outcome of the Kılıçdaroğlu-Karamollaoğlu meeting,
an approach will be made to Gül. Another figure whose name is mooted in the event of there
being a joint candidate is that of the first person to declare their candidacy, Akşener. Good
Party sources, stating that there is no other declared candidate apart from Akşener on the
opposition wing, argue that Akşener is the figure who will most readily court public
acceptance. However, the conclusion reached particularly in the CHP is that Akşener’s early
declaration of her candidacy is muddying the waters for the opposition’s plan to seek a joint
name.
 
The CHP is not too keen on a general election alliance: With regard to the parliamentary
general elections, it is argued that political parties which are ideologically close to one
another should move towards alliance, while the CHP should contest the election on its own.
Public opinion polls conducted on this point also lead to the conclusion that CHP supporters
do not want an electoral alliance with another party. In line with this, there is talk of the Good
Party-SP-DP forming an alliance if the former is authorised to contest the election, or, if
unable to do so, of the option of Good Party people standing on DP lists. The view is
advanced that the HDP should form an alliance with the components it previously contested
elections jointly with. However, the CHP is said not to be rejecting the “alliance” option
outright bearing in mind that the Good Party may be unable to contest the election and
formulations which may be agreed on in the presidential election.