by: Babajide A. Martins Faleru (email@example.com)
General elections are set for May 14, 2023. Two-Round presidential elections are held in Turkey to pick the President. Simultaneously, parliamentary elections are being held to elect 600 members of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly.
The Turkish constitution allows multi-party systems which gives the opportunity for many parties to be formed. There are about 17 political parties registered. The highest electoral body in Turkey is the Supreme Election Council (Yüksek Seçim Kurulu). On February 16, 1950, the Deputy’s Election Law No. 5545 established it. The Supreme Election Council was given constitutional authority by the 1961 constitution following the coup of 1960. Its responsibility is to make sure the Constitution’s tenets and regulations are respected.
The Supreme Election Council is made up of a president, six regular members, and four stand-in members from the Council of State Judges and the Court of Cassation, also known as the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP), led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is seeking a second term in office after controlling the country for 20 decades under a parliamentary system of government. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, first as prime minister in 2003 and subsequently as directly elected president since 2014.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has led Turkey for 20 years and has transformed his nation more than any other leader since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the acclaimed founder of the modern republic, has come from humble origins to become a political behemoth.
ERDOĞAN FACED A CHALLENGE
The primary issues facing Erdoğan are the economic crisis and the rising cost of living, as well as bad economic management, which has caused inflation to skyrocket, and an increasing number of Turks have blamed his government for this.
The unconventional unwillingness to raise interest rates resulted in excessive inflation. The official inflation rate is just above 50% but researchers believe it is much higher.
Following the recent earthquake in the country’s Eastern province, the president and the ruling party have been heavily chastised for failing to modify Turkey’s construction methods before the 6 February earthquake and for mishandling the search and rescue operations that followed.
ONE CANDIDATE FOR COALITION PARTIES
To topple the incumbent Party (AKP), the opposition parties established a coalition. Six opposition parties field one candidate to challenge Tayyip Erdogan.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, the soft-spoken Republican People’s Party (CHP) primary opposition leader, has run three times but failed to oust the incumbent. This time, however, he is running as a unity candidate for six opposition parties, ranging from his own center-left party and the nationalist Good Party (ÌYÌ PARTì) to four smaller groupings that include two former Erdoan allies, one of whom co-founded the AK Party.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), an unofficial pro-Kurdish party, is also backing Kilicdaroglu, and the party is running for parliament under the banner of another party, the Green Left Party (YSP), due to a court case alleging links to Kurdish militants.
Although he is not universally popular, he can defeat Erdogan with the help of the coalition. Some believed Istanbul and Ankara mayors to be stronger candidates after the CHP won control of the cities in 2019 for the first time since 1994.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu, a former civil servant from the Alevi minority, led a 24-day march for justice in 2017 that was viewed as the largest act of resistance against President Erdoan’s reign in years.
The Nation Alliance, commonly known as the Table of Six, is unified in its aim to move Turkey away from the presidential system established by Mr. Erdoan and back to parliamentary rule. To reform the system and hold a referendum, they need to win 400 of Turkey’s 600 MPs, or 360 MPs.
The alliance’s five leaders have agreed to serve as vice presidents. If they triumph.
According to Turkish public polls, Kilicdaroglu is leading, but that does not guarantee victory. Mr. Muharrem Ince, who left the party to run for president, crushed Kilicdaroglu’s hopes.
Mr. Ince, 58, was the Republican People’s Party presidential candidate in 2018, but he left the party two years ago due to disagreements with Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Their split was sparked by ideological differences. He is running under the banner of the Homeland Party (Memleket Parti). He is accused of splitting the opposition vote and thereby helping President Erdogan.
Ultra-nationalist Sinan Ogan is another candidate with little prospect of success, but he, too, has the potential to be a kingmaker. In an effort to win the election, he created the Ancestral Alliance, a partnership comprising four parties.
HOW DOES THE VOTE WORK?
To enter the 600-seat parliament, a party must receive 7% of the vote or form part of an alliance. That is why alliances have become so important in Turkey, and the six-party opposition has highlighted changing that as one of their proposed reforms. Under proportional representation, Turks vote for party lists rather than candidates, so seat numbers correspond to votes cast per party rather than alliances. The opposition has agreed to fight under a single-party banner in some seats.
The Green Left candidates who are running, run under the coalition of the Labour and Freedom Alliance instead of the pro-Kurdish party (HDP).
According to the reforms made by President Erdoğan, the president chooses the government unlike the previous form of government where there is a prime minister, it has been eradicated since the government is practicing a presidential system of government. If Board People’s Alliance fails to win a majority in parliament, it may struggle to rule in the same way now. The pro-Erdoğan People’s Alliance currently has 334 MPs.
President Erdogan is running for re-election now that the system has been reformed, but experts feel that he has ruled the country for too long. He appears to be running for a third term.
However, Turkey’s YSK electoral authority declared that his tenure should be viewed as beginning in 2018, not 2014 when the new presidential system began with simultaneous elections for parliament and president. Opposition lawmakers had already requested the YSK to prevent his candidacy.
HOW WOULD TURKEY BE CHANGED BY THE OPPOSITION?
Kilicdaroglu’s Nation’s Alliance aims to reinstate Turkey’s legislative system and change the presidency, removing the head of state’s authority to veto legislation, severing the post’s ties to political parties, and making it a seven-year election.
The opposition-led alliance seeks to relaunch Turkey’s long-stalled attempt to join the European Union, which has been abandoned by the ruling party, and to reestablish mutual trust with the United States after years of strained relations.
They have committed to reduce inflation to 10% within a few years and to willingly return Syrian refugees; Turkey now hosts approximately 3.6 million Syrians.
The question remains if the opposition coalition parties can reverse the course of history by toppling the incumbent party after dominating the country for two decades.
Source by: Babajide A. Martins Faleru. Freelance writer. London School of Journalism Alumni