CHP to help former Erdogan allies – report

The leader of Turkey’s largest opposition party says his party will help the newly formed parties of a former prime minister and a former minister in the event of a snap election, according to a leading nationalist columnist.

According to an article in the Yenicag daily on Thursday by columnist Orhan Ugurluoglu, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the would help the newly founded parties of former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and former Economy Minister Ali Babacan, both of whom were prominent members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Davutoglu, who was Turkey’s prime minister between 2014-2016 during Tayyip Erdogan’s parliamentary presidency, resigned from the AKP and founded the Future Party in December 2019.

Ali Babacan, former Economy Minister and a once prominent figure of the AKP founded the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) this year.

Pundits expect Davutoglu and Babacan’s new parties to mostly get its votes from disenchanted AKP voters, rather than other opposition parties.

“We would support them [DEVA and Future Party] for democracy. That is why we want to abolish the election threshold. All parties must be represented in the Parliament,” Ugurluoglu quoted Kilcdaroglu as saying.

Ugurluoglu also interpreted Kilicdaroglu’s comments as a welcome sign for the new parties to be in the same alliance of opposition parties.

Political parties in Turkey have been in rival alliances since the 2018 general elections.

Turkey’s 10 percent election threshold bars parties with less than 10 percent of the vote from having representatives in Parliament. It does not apply if one of the parties in an alliance garners more than ten percent of the votes.

The AKP and its nationalist MHP allies secured a parliamentary majority based on a combined 53.7% of the vote, while in the presidential election, Erdogan secured a first-round victory with 52.6%.

Opinion polls indicate that support for Babacan and Davutoglu is in single digits.

However, after a defeat in 2019 mayoral elections in Ankara and Istanbul, and with economic hardship eating away at his voter base, even an incremental loss of support could mean the loss of the 18-year hold on power for Erdogan.

New elections are not scheduled until 2023, but Ugurluoglu and many others suggest that the latest tweets posted by MHP vice-chairs which declared that MHP’s rule in Turkey is imminent, indicates a crack in the ruling alliance, which may lead to snap elections.

Opposition parties have said the government might opt for early elections if it sees its support dwindling.

The Yenicag daily is a nationalist leaning Istanbul daily newspaper.

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