These are the elections Turkey must hold in the next thirty-six months:
- March 2014: local elections (most likely on the 30th, the final Sunday);
- August 2014: presidential election (31 August most likely for first round, with the second, if required, to follow a fortnight later);
- June 2015: parliamentary election (14 June most likely).
If the glacial work of a 16-member parliamentary committee charged with writing the country’s new constitution ever bears fruit, there will be a referendum to vote on that as well. But the committee was due to report back at the end of 2012 and, well, it hasn’t, so it’s perhaps not worth holding your breath.
While that work continues, the political chattering classes are speculating over electoral scenarios: can the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) score a high profile win against the governing AK Party by, say, winning control of the Istanbul mayoralty? Is it even possible to weaken the AK Party’s punctilious grip on power?
In 2009, the CHP came close to wresting Istanbul away from AK, following a slick campaign led by its candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. The difference btween the two parties came to 7.5 percentage points, far narrower than any recent national result, and allowed Mr Kılıçdaroğlu to become the only credible contender for the national party’s leadership later that year.
The party now needs a new candidate for Istanbul and the most obvious name is Mustafa Sarıgül, the maverick mayor of the city’s Şişli district and easily the country’s most recognisable local politician. The rumour is that Kadir Topbaş, the current AK mayor, is being lined up for a role in national politics. Up against a fresh-faced AK candidate, Mr Sarıgül could become Istanbul’s first left-wing mayor in 25 years.
For an assessment of the second question, that of the AK Party’s seemingly unending hold on elected office, kindly consider the rough chart below.
Last modified: Monday 7 January 2013