As many of you know by now, the AKP suffered a big blow in today’s elections, losing their majority in parliament for the first time in 13 years, resulting in a hung parliament. So the question I’ve been trying to answer all day is what happens next. Here’s what I’ve found and it suggests that Erdogan still has a chance to accomplish his goals within the framework of the elections:
The four parties in the Turkish parliament have 45 days to form a majority coalition. Assuming that starts today, we are looking at the fourth week in July around the 22nd as the deadline.
Remember, the AKP got the most seats at 258, while the CHP got 132, the MHP got 81, and the HDP got 79:
Only two coalition scenarios can play out to gain the majority. Either the AKP forms a coalition with one of the three opposition parties, or the three opposition parties unite to form a majority.
This sounds simple, but analysts are saying neither scenario is likely:
“The AKP said it would not accept a coalition government, nor is it likely that the other three main parties will put aside their differences,” Kilic Kanat, a columnist for the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper told MEE.
At this point, it is very difficult to envisage the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey’s second largest party, bridging the gap between the conflicting ideologies of the pro-Kurdish HDP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Kanat said.
Despite being Islamists, the MHP does not like Erdogan very much, suggesting it won’t make a coalition government with anyone and suggests that Erdogan should resign:
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli says the election results mark the beginning of the end for the ruling AK Party, adding that President Erdoğan should either act within constitutional bounds or consider resignation. Bahçeli welcomed the election results, saying the MHP won 31 more seats in Parliament. The MHP leader suggested that a coalition government is now on the horizon but apparently dismissed a role for the MHP, recommending an AK Party-HDP coalition as a first option or an AK Party-CHP-HDP coalition if that fails. He said early elections must be held if both scenarios fail, rejecting a possible minority government by the AK Party.
And the HDP (Kurdish Party) is ruling out any coalition with the AKP:
“As of this moment, the debate on the presidency, the debate about dictatorship, has come to an end in Turkey. Turkey has returned from the edge of a cliff,” Demirtaş said late on June 7 at the HDP’s provincial building in Istanbul, together with the party’s co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ.
He stated that they would not form a coalition government with the Justice and Development Party (AKP), as they had promised throughout the campaign.
“We will not form a coalition with the AKP, we stand behind our words. We will be in parliament as a strong opposition,” Demirtaş vowed.
A lot of words are flying around as people position themselves for a fight over the next 45 days. All of this positioning could change, but what if they don’t form a coalition government in the time allotted?
If no majority coalition is formed, Erdogan can call for new parliamentary elections, something we may see in just two months:
“Unless the three other parties unite to overthrow the AKP, a development that would in itself be unstable, Turkey could face another parliamentary election within two months,” Kanat said.
The four largest parties have 45-days to form a coalition before Erdogan can call for re-election.
Erdogan may seek this option believing that the prospect of a weak government would scare voters back into the AKP fold, added Kanat.
Notice that last line? It suggests that Erdogan and the AKP’s strategy could be to forgo any coalition in order force another election, hoping to scare people back into voting for the AKP. This may work, but it also could backfire if the three opposition parties decide to form a weak coalition majority simply to stop the AKP. But given the conflicting ideologies of the pro-Kurdish HDP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as Kanat suggests above, this seems like a difficult hurdle to cross.
So it looks like the most likely scenario is that we have another set of parliamentary elections in two months and we do this all over again. The question is do the results stay the same or improve for the AKP?