By Fipra Turkey
The election results signify a new era, and considerably signify a fresh period in Turkey, tense with excess of uncertainties and ambiguities on the political arena. In addition to the fact that no party has managed to gather the adequate number of votes required to come to power alone, the plain differences, significant divergences and the mounting distress and worn-out status in the relations of the parties with each other have also weakened the prospects of an eventual coalition, to a great extent.
Ak Party has suffered a loss of 3 million votes, compared with its standing achieved in the previous polls, at a time when the total number of electorate has increased in excess of one million since then, with the addition of new over-age eligible youthful voters. This situation and the ballot-box outcome clearly justify the crosscurrent comments and views that the ruling party has failed to accurately read and precisely measure the existing social dynamics and developments. Thereby it was unable to correctly analyze the new voter profile and incapable of diagnosing and monitoring the prevailing realities of the country as the consequence of its intoxication or inebriation of power. It has gradually transformed itself into an political entity that caters solely to the requirements and demands of its own traditional power base, steering itself away from the notable characteristics that had made it a “mass and catch-all party.” In addition, key factors and peripheral issues such as the visible stagnation that has engulfed the economy since a considerable lapse of time, the tangible decrease in the pace of economic growth, the rudeness in the campaign language and offensive content employed uninterruptedly in populist rhetoric as well as the extravagance and ostentatious displays of luxurious spending were also influential in the disengagement and dissociation of the Ak Party’s hard-core backers.
Standing out probably as the most fundamental analysis with regard to the outcome, there appears a compelling need to focus particularly on the perception that the election strategy adopted was actually based on a totally wrong structure and a misguided set-up. While Prime Minister Davutoglu and his team applied an election tactic that was directed exclusively to the religiously devout masses and built on a shared, so-called “common cause,” President Erdogan, on the other hand, put into action a strategy constructed on the elusive “Presidential system" that he has enigmatically devised for the regime and that he has desperately exhorted all along as a leeway out for himself. Interestingly, both strategies have steered the frightened and irritated electorate, who were eager to reverse the entire process and thwart such plans, ending up in the HDP, pro-Kurdish Party. The probability of the HDP to overcome the national election threshold of 10% was regarded as the only remedy, an antidote to block, abort and standstill the Ak Party's designs and disposition. Therefore the HDP emerged, at the end of this episode, as an umbrella party, appealing to such political ambitions and equations.
Although there was a small shift from the main opposition party CHP's voter base to the HDP, the mere circumstance that it has anyhow accomplished to retain its vote-proportion, registered in the preceding election, points to a limited success for the CHP. This could be assessed to assume that this party has duly received its validated reward and remuneration from the people for its choice of a strategy that it has successfully developed, pillared on economy and living issues, for the first time in its long history. It has also never yielded the initiative to its weighty opponent during the entire course of campaigning despite the momentous odds against it.
The MHP, in the meantime, has come up with an increase in its votes in parallel to the upsurge in Turkish nationalism, which was, in fact, an equivalent response to the rise in Kurdish nationalism. However, the party is afflicted by significant frustrations, factionalism and grievances within its rank-and-file, which all appear to have been conveniently postponed to the future. For this specific reason, it could be rightly argued that it will not be too reluctant to serve as a potential minor power player and a government partner in a coalition with the ultimate purpose of overcoming and resolving the internal conflict and dissent.
Glanced in a broad sociological context, the viability and proven probability of liquidating a party in power through purely democratic means in Turkey, by manifesting their options in the ballot-box; to be able to convey and communicate their views and opinions to the political cadres by employing vote-slips, and the creation of a Parliament where a greater number of segments of the society are permitted to represent themselves and have a voice… all these contributed to the budding of hopes and aspirations for the future traits.
What happens now?
Following the formal disclosure of the election results, a new government is required to be formed and installed within a time-line of 45 days. If there is no success in establishing the government, the President will call for a new election in three months. From the tidbits in hand, we are most likely to witness a procedure in which the Ak Party will strenuously strive to forge a coalition either with the MHP or the HDP which categorically rejected this partnership before and after elections. Therefore, conceivably, it will be compelled to divert its prime attention to the MHP for such collaboration. At any rate, the likelihood that no government could be suitably formed is also quite high. Under such circumstances, the instance in which the opposition will struggle to configure a coalition partnership from among its ranks portrays another scenario, currently in circulation. Nonetheless, attributable to the given fact that they all come from extremely diverse, somehow hostile and remote views, and also confronted with the risk that Ak Party will still wield a powerful baton in the Parliament, and compounded with the anticipation that President Erdogan may invoke his existing powers and lock up the whole process are distinct but ponderable parameters that ultimately reduce the practicality of this aspect.
Moreover, the prolonged reaction that the financial markets will provide, and who will infer what conclusions, evaluations and perception from any potential backtrack in the economy also carry importance. At that juncture point, the Ak Party may attempt to carve out a fresh design, based on the assumption that such a picture of instability and turbulence would eventually enable it to reclaim the lost votes and may even add more strength and vigor to its receding base, and finally force through a decision for early elections. Then again, the party has its ordinary general congress scheduled within the month of September, and it is a consensus observation among political analysts and pundits that it will be difficult for Davutoglu to hold on to his seat, in the face of the current election outcome.
Furthermore, the international credit-rating agencies will regularly release their new and updated Turkey sovereign reports during the September-October months. A predominant number of credit-assessment institutions have already adjourned their fundamental macroeconomic evaluations and on-spot researches to this period owing to the election phase. The risk of sovereign and country downgrades that could perceivably follow one another, and the adverse announcements and disclosures that could emanate during this episode may impart a negative impact on the economy, and it may not be able to withstand such a downside onslaught.
The subjects that could be classified as the multi-color backgrounds of the people that the HDP has carried along to the Parliament; the abundance of women legislators who managed to be elected; the telling increase in the number of candidates originating from other religious denominations and ethnic groups and, finally, that the whole election process was terminated without any vexing flaws or drawbacks all served to demonstrate a gratifying and relieving democratic maturity that Turkey has attained.