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Sunday, 7 January 2007

Election 2007: Predictions

The election of a new president in May, and of a government in November, will focus minds. If the parliament, dominated by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, elects an Islamist as president, secularists will be appalled. Either way, the AKP will win the general election.
  Turkey prediction from "The World in 2007", published by The Economist
Many of the visitors to this blog in the last few months have come having searched "Turkey election 2007", or something similar, in Google. There is little need to question why: the two upcoming elections are events that will eclipse all others in the Turkey of 2007. We can only hope the two votes will indeed focus minds.

Ahmet Necdet Sezer has 99 remaining days in office, and it is still no clearer who his replacement might be. It is unlikely a candidate will emerge until at least February; we may even have to wait until March. This blog has already endorsed Hikmet Çetin as Turkey's next president, but I'm curious to know what the remainder of the blogging community has to say on the matter.

What do you think? Do you agree with a recent Hürriyet interview in which Süleyman Demirel said he expected Mr Erdoğan to become the next president? Do you think I'm right to push for a Hikmet Çetin presidency? Or perhaps, even though it is highly unlikely, would you support an overhaul of Turkey's presidential system that would allow presidents two terms of five years each, thus giving Mr Sezer another three years in power? Such a motion was tabled at the end of Mr Demirel's presidency seven years ago; it failed, and the result was a crossparty compromise in Mr Sezer. Can there be a compromise this time?

The second election of the year is due in 301 days. The Economist is almost dismissive of what will happen in that election ("the AKP will win") but they are right. In a political scene where there is no strong challenger to the governing party, and not enough of a reason to vote them out, why shouldn't they win?

4 comments:

istanbultory said...

James,
Happy New Year. The President won't be Tayyip (the military/ mass media are working to ensure that this doesn't happen) or Hikmet Çetin (alas). It's more likely to be a fairly obscure AKP member of Parliament (but not a heavy weight contender)whose wife is not veiled. And more importantly someone who will not inflame secular opinion once elected. Mr Vecdi Gönül, the low profile Defence Minister, satisfies both counts. On the other hand, ıf Tayyip were to think a little more creatively, he might choose one of AKP's female MPs. There are a few younger, non-veiled ones who might be acceptable to Turkish society as a whole.
As for the general election, I suspect that Tayyip will have a reduced share of the vote (around 22-24%)and he will attempt to form a coalition government with the DYP. The centre left CHP will remain in opposition most likely. Although if the ultra nationalist MHP did well and picked up 15% plus of the vote, then a CHP-MHP coalition govt could be conceivable. But Turkish politics is highly volatile. And every one of my predictions might turn out to be utterly wrong!!

yuvakuran said...

James- In April 2007, we shall have our next Presidential Elections in our parliament. It is general expectation that the existing ruling party will nominate their Chairman as the next President for next 7-years. There are certain sides that the elections are all over, and the next president is already known.

However since there are certain evidences that the existing majority party Chairman has his past record against the historical constitutional secular principles, there will be huge opposition for his elections for the top post.

If the ruling party Chairman or any other leading nominee from his party will become the new President, he will certainly push the country with all measures, legislations, appointments towards a new environment as moderate Islamic republic in the region. So all secular forces are to defend the existing Western Democratic system to prevail.

So let us try to foresee the elections what if we can do or cannot do in future regarding the elections in April 2007. Upon his election, the new president will enforce all measures, appointments, legislations against constitutional secular law. There will be huge legal and civil reaction.

All types of sarcastic and even humiliating jokes, stories against him will be created as usual practice. His own life will be under magnifying lens at all times as well as his family members, and there will be no immunity in that respect. His all past commercial transactions will be evaluated and criticized and severely scrutinized. On the next general elections his party may not have majority in the Parliament and then he will be courted and maybe released from his post. That will be a very humiliating experience in our parliamentarian history.

A serious financial crises is expected in early 2007 in the local market due to this fragile social athmosphere. That will create a difficult time for the people in Turkey in the short run. We cannot estimate how the management in power will manage these difficult times.

It is our understanding that our Military Upper Management has already had that brainstorming within their ranks and they have reached a certain inside consensus which is not yet made public. Maybe their decision is "wait and see" policy.

This election process is a very good opportunity for ourselves in order to have more brainstorming and intellectual contribution to think on “The best election process for Presidential post in Turkey. What should be the qualifications of our President? How should he/she be elected?”.

That is a fact that we always feel the difficulty in "Freedom of Expression" in our own language. Article 26 of the Constitution of Turkey guarantees the right to "Freedom of Expression and Dissemination of Thought". Moreover, the Republic of Turkey is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights and submits to the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The constitutional freedom of expression may be limited by provisions in other laws, of which Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which outlaws insulting Turkishness.

Similar articles in Blogs will also be a test of "Blogs" against written local Media sources which are under close control of certain commercial interest groups.

istanbultory said...

If Tayyip becomes president, we will witness, as before a soft military coup , on the lines of the 28th February 1997 model.

Anonymous said...

Hello jimmy
As a journalist you must report on the names of other aspirants for the presidency. I heard there are some deputies interested in the office. What is the possibility of outsider getting elected by the parliament