Thoughts and predictions ahead of the next Turkish parliamentary vote
Some astonishing news for you: Turkey’s parliament is playing by the rules. That’s right. The Grand National Assembly is preparing for an election at the scheduled time.(*) For the first time in decades, longer than most of us can remember, Turkish people will not be dragged to the ballot box because of an exodus of MPs from the ruling party, or a collapsed coalition, or a military intervention. No, the 2011 general election will take place because the rulebook, Turkey’s constitution, says it is time for one.
You could say this is a sign of more stable, predictable times in Turkish politics. To a certain extent, you would be right. With six months to go until voting day it looks like AK, the party of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prime minister, is set to win a third consecutive victory.
That shouldn’t surprise many people. Mr Erdoğan’s party has a solid record of progress, and it would take someone quite obstinate to argue Turkish people are not better off now than when AK came to power in 2002. Opinion polls suggest the ruling party is likely to win around 45 percent of the vote, close to what they got last time.
But even though the victor is already pretty clear, it is an important election for Turkey. This is what I will be watching out for over the coming six months:
(*) Well, nearly. Following the 2007 referendum, Turkish terms of parliament were reduced from five years to four, which means this year’s election should be held on 22 July, but given that people last time were queuing in temperatures above 35°C last time, voting looks likely to be brought forward a month.
Last modified: Sunday 15 December 2013