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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Analysis: Will Turkey's Erdogan Resort to Snap Election?


Mon 06 Jul 2020 | 06:16 PM

Holding snap elections in Turkey speculations have circulated again, in light of the suffocating economic crisis in the country, the continuous repression and restrictions on freedoms, and the decline in the popularity of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party in favor of opposition parties.

Although general elections are scheduled to take place in Turkey in 2023, observers believe that many indicators may favor the option of going to snap elections, most notably the dire economic situation in the country, the start of the disintegration of the ruling Justice and Development Party by the defection of key figures.

[caption id="attachment_136283" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Analysis: Will Turkey's Erdogan Resort to Snap Election? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan- File Photo[/caption]

Criticism of Erdogan’s policies in the parliament has increased, along with opposition parties narrowing the gap of popularity with the President's party, and ensuring more potential votes in their candidates.

According to a new poll conducted by the Metropole Foundation for Researches, which is based in Ankara, the Republican People's Party (CHP), which is the largest opposition party, has reduced the difference in the votes with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to only six points, according to Ahval website specialized in Turkish affairs.

The CHP received 24 per cent of the expected votes in any upcoming parliamentary elections, while the Justice and Development Party’s rate was 30 per cent.

In a similar poll conducted by the same institution last May, the results showed good acceptance of the opposition parties, the "Future" founded by former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and "Democracy and Progress" formed by former Economy Minister Ali Babacan, as they won votes that were previously going for the AKP.

[caption id="attachment_136284" align="aligncenter" width="911"]Analysis: Will Turkey's Erdogan Resort to Snap Election? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan- File Photo[/caption]

Turkey Between Two Different Scenarios

Although a group of observers believes in the possibility of holding snap elections, other experts ruled out that scenario because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Turkey, which has infected more than 205 thousand people and caused the death of more than 5 thousand, according to Johns Hopkins University data statistics.

According to the expert on Turkish affairs, Khorshid Deli, the hopes of opposition parties for snap elections clash with a series of obstacles, most notably that the decision to call for such elections is in the hands of the Turkish president, who currently has no interest in such option.

In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Deli said that "If the parliament pushes for snap elections, this draft law should obtain a majority, which is not possible at the moment.”

[caption id="attachment_136285" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Analysis: Will Turkey's Erdogan Resort to Snap Election? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan- File Photo[/caption]

"There is only one scenario in which snap elections can take place, which is that something happens at the level of alliances that serves the AKP or that Erdogan succeeds to achieve prominent political progress, such as controlling the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq in his war against the PKK,” Deli added. 

He thinks that “Such matters would increase Erdogan’s suffering popularity and give him an opportunity to slap the opposition in the face.”

In his opinion, the expert believes that the Turkish opposition lacks collective leadership and a coherent alliance, and a leader with a strong charisma that enables him to stand up to Erdogan, stressing the need for these parties to rearrange their ranks.

On his part, the expert in Turkish affairs, Mohamed Abdel Kadir, stated that the AKP faces many problems at the grassroots level and the political elite, manifested in the defection of a number of the party’s cadres and the establishment of new parties.

[caption id="attachment_136286" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Analysis: Will Turkey's Erdogan Resort to Snap Election? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan- File Photo[/caption]

"The opposition parties were able to stand up to Erdogan in the battle of Istanbul during the municipal elections,” he added. 

Recent data showed that inflation in Turkey jumped more than expected to 12.5 per cent year-on-year in June, moving away from the central bank’s goal, and pushing analysts to predict that interest rate increases are looming.