Why is Erdoğan speaking of a coalition days before the election?
According to researchers, the shift in favour of a coalition is intended to give the message that he is not tied to the MHP.
Having made the ending of periods of coalition the central premise for the transition to a Turkish-style presidential system, President Tayyip Erdoğan’s shift in favour of a coalition three days before the election is being interpreted as a last-ditch effort to give the message that he is not tied to the MHP and to stem the flow of votes away from the AKP and MHP. Erdoğan’s pronouncement that, “If we fall short of 300 in parliament we may be able to enter a coalition” that demolishes his long-standing anti-coalition strategy has notably come very shortly before the elections. According to the opposition, lying behind Erdoğan’s shift in favour of a coalition is the declining AKP-MHP vote in the polls. Public opinion research bodies that have previously worked for the AKP assessed Erdoğan’s revised coalition strategy for Cumhuriyet:
ANAR Research CEO İbrahim Uslu
-There will be no lasting alliances: There is a close connection between the system we will pass to after the election and Erdoğan’s announcement that a coalition may be contemplated if they are unable to attain the majority in parliament. In fact, I think that the period of lasting alliances will end along with the election. What in my view is meant is not a cabinet coalition but accords and alliances that will be made over statutes. Through this announcement of his, Erdoğan has given the message that he will not be tied to the MHP alone after the election. He has indicated that he may, as circumstances dictate, reach agreement with other parties in parliament after the election and not just the MHP to enable him to pass laws by means of forming alliances. Erdoğan will give preference to the model of dynamic alliances in parliament over lasting alliances. Depending on the statute he is to pass, he will seek agreements and alliances with either the CHP, Good Party or HDP.
-There exists the prospect of a second round: Along with the requirements of the system, Erdoğan’s talk of a coalition is closely connected to the situation on the ground. If he falls short of 300 in parliament, he will be obliged to seek agreement with the opposition parties. The way things look just now is that there is a tight neck-and-neck race. Erdoğan may be elected in the first round, but nevertheless the possibility of a second round in the presidential election cannot be discounted; it exists. Erdoğan’s comments about a coalition must also be regarded in this context.
MAK Consultancy President Mehmet Ali Kulat
-Voters fleeing the AKP and MHP: The prime aim served by Erdoğan’s coalition announcement has to do with the dissonant voices in the AKP and MHP. He is sending a message to the votes that are going to flee both parties. He wants to halt the voters who are moving away from both parties with the coalition message. He wants to get the total vote of the People’s Alliance, because a very short time remains until the election. There is a period of three days. As such, it is also significant that the coalition message came with little time remaining. He is aiming to stop voters who will flee at the last minute, because the prospect of a second round and the loss of a majority in parliamentary is looking highly likely.
-Message to the opposition: Secondly, he is giving a message to the opposition parties with a coalition. He is hinting that he may seek alliances with some of the opposition parties if he loses his majority in parliament. He is seeking to shore himself up with the opposition. As to whether the alliance with the MHP will break up, whether he will wish to align himself with yet another party while in alliance with the MHP and which party this will be, the results to emerge on 24 June will show this, because, with a short time until the election, there is a neck-and-neck situation in a manner that resembles the referendum. The election results and numerical distribution in parliament will determine whether the HDP surmounts the threshold. Just now, if by a hair’s breadth, the HDP is above the threshold. This means that the opposition may be able to gain the majority in parliament. A second round is also possible. Erdoğan is making these surprise announcements informed by all these facts.
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