The bid by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to form a coalition for the upcoming presidential elections is an alliance for a “one-man regime,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bülent Tezcan has said.
“The alliance, dubbed a ‘national and native coalition,’ is actually a one-man coalition. It is an attack on Turkey’s State of Law. It amounts to destroying democracy and the law,” Tezcan said on Feb. 14 after his party’s central executive board meeting in Ankara.
His comments came after Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül stated on Feb. 14 that the AKP and the MHP have almost completed their joint effort to build a legislative basis to form a pre-election alliance ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 2019, after which a constitutional change shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system will fully go into effect.
Tezcan said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s introduction of the new system will cause a “further disturbance in Turkey’s peace” and blasted the accord between the MHP and the AKP as “not national.”
“With this alliance, they are dividing the nation. They are trying to stigmatize everyone who is not one of them as a terrorist,” he added.
“But in Turkey you either stand for ‘one-man alliance’ or you stand for democracy, justice and peace,” Tezcan said.
Even before work on the AKP-MHP alliance formally began, MHP Chair Devlet Bahçeli had announced that his party would support Erdoğan’s presidential candidacy in the 2019 election. The two parties had both also teamed up to campaign in favor of the constitutional changes during the April 2017 referendum.
The two parties have been working on legislative harmonization necessary to allow the coalition since Jan. 18 when the first official meeting was held. The new legislation will take its final shape after a final meeting between Erdoğan and Bahçeli, who are expected to gather next week.
The legislative package is expected to be submitted to parliament in the subsequent weeks.
Sources told Hürriyet that the new legislation will maintain Turkey’s high 10 percent electoral threshold on parties entering parliament, while paving the way for the representation of party coalitions on ballot papers.
Ballot papers will include all parties so voters will vote the party of their choice, rather than voting for a single “alliance” or coalition together.
After a number of allegations of fraud in the knife-edge April 2017 referendum, the AKP and the MHP have also reportedly agreed on expanding the authorities of ballot box officials, granting them the authority to appeal to the police during future vote counts.