Election debates in Ankara

There's nothing more natural in politics than for the opposition to want an election since holding an election means having the chance to become the ruling power.

Currently, the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal is urging the government to call an election. In fact, he's even forecast what the election results will be. He didn't say anything about his own party but he said the votes of the ruling power would be below 30 percent. Actually the phrase he used was "in the 20s." This means a figure between 20 percent and 30 percent, not 30 percent precisely. But let us assess the situation by assuming that he meant 30 percent. In the last general election, the percentage of the vote for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was 47 percent. In order for Baykal's "in the 20s" prediction to be correct, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party will need to have lost a total of 17 points within two years.

Is that believable? In the local elections held last March, the AK Party's percentage had dropped to 39 in the provincial general assembly. It was the first time the AK Party had lost votes, sparking disappointment in Erdoğan. So Baykal is probably basing his estimation on that voter percentage which was the lowest ever for the AK Party (There is no logical error in making such a prediction). Under these conditions, it means the AK Party has lost 9 percent of its votes in the eight months between March and December.

Do you believe that?

Baykal is using public reaction against the democratic initiative and the negative effects the global crisis has created in the markets to explain his prediction. But for some reason Baykal has not conducted an evaluation of his own party even though looking at the situation from that perspective would give him a better idea about what the election results would be.

Did, perhaps, the votes of the CHP, which won 23 percent in the last local elections, increase by 9 percent over the last eight months? If it did then the CHP's vote percentage will increase to 32 percent.

What do you think? Is it possible?

Let's go a bit further and make an assessment by looking at the vote percentages of 2007. In the general elections held on July 22, 2007, the CHP won 21 percent of the votes. If only the political scientific expert opposition leader would make another "scientific guess." Would we hear him say that the CHP's votes increased by 17 points and reached 38 percent? I am not sure if you are aware but this article is changing from being a serious political evaluation into a political comedy. Being near the 30th percentile, let alone reaching 38 percent, is a pipe dream for the CHP today. But the CHP's real tragedy is that everyone is blaming Baykal for not being able to achieve the expected, or more correctly fancied, increase in votes. But it is only with Baykal that the CHP can win the highest amounts of votes possible. If Baykal were to leave, the CHP's vote would drop even further.

Anyways, it's very unusual for Baykal to want to hold elections. If perhaps the AK Party has lost a couple of points in the last few months and if this is reflected in the election results then Baykal might just be able to obtain the results that can extend his political career. After all, it's not like it's the CHP's own positions, initiatives or efforts that have determined the CHP's fate in recent years.

The AK Party won the elections in 2002 because they were able to inspire hope in the public. They won the next elections because they put on a successful performance. In both general elections, the CHP was like an observer.

The CHP thinks that that their votes will increase if the AK Party stumbles. But they are wrong. The fact they fail to understand is that you can't become the ruling power by watching those in the field from the sidelines. "Hope" will become the ruling power. What is the CHP doing or saying to inspire "hope" in society? If they are waiting around in anticipation that one day voters will say "let's give the CHP a try" then they have a lot more waiting to do. Hasn't this country already given the CHP a try?

Come on people, don't make us laugh.

09 January 2010, Saturday