At least 15 lawmakers from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) switched their allegiance to Good Party, a development that substantially cancels any potential move by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to exclude the new opposition party from running in June 24 elections.
The move came amid days of speculations surrounding Good Party’s eligibility for running in the elections. After a visit by a CHP delegation led by Bulent Tezcan, CHP’s press spokesperson, to Good Party Chairwoman Meral Aksener, the transfer was announced on Sunday.
The CHP steered the transfer of lawmakers to Aksener’s party to foil any potential move to block the party’s run in June 24 polls.
Aksener praised CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu for the wise decision that helped stymie the government effort. “They [AKP-MHP] jointly devised a plot, but it was thwarted. Kilicdaroglu’s move is beyond every praise.”
The move caught the government off guard and is bound to alter calculations of political actors ahead of the elections.
“The CHP has thwarted Erdogan’s snap election machination to prevent Meral Aksener and her Good Party from running,” Aykan Erdemir, a former CHP lawmaker and a senior fellow with Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), told Globe Post Turkey.
He noted that Good Party now can not only contest the elections, but also receive state funding and hold weekly televised party group meetings at the Turkish parliament. “Erdogan’s ruse to eliminate his key challenger has backfired, and the Turkish president now has to run against an emboldened Aksener and Good Party,” he added.
On Saturday, a senior AKP lawmaker hinted exclusion of Good Party from June 24 elections, and even called on the new opposition party to better prepare for the next elections, not for this upcoming one.
According to Erdemir, CHP leader Kilicdaroglu, in stark contrast to Erdogan, has also demonstrated that politics is not about destroying political opponents, but maintaining pluralism and democratic competition.
The CHP’s altruistic move to facilitate Aksener’s candidacy, he emphasized, is a valuable reminder in a polarized Turkey that politics can and should be about win-win solutions, deliberative democracy, and consensus.
On Sunday, Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced that Good Party is among the parties that will run in June 24 snap elections.
According to a statement released by the board on Sunday, current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), People’s Democracy Party (HDP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Good Party, Saadet (Felicity) Party, BTP, BBP, DP and Homeland Party will be able to take part in elections.
The YSK decision ends the ambiguity surrounding Good Party whether it would join the elections. According to the Turkish electoral law, a political party must fulfill a certain set of requirements such as completing its first general congress and organizations in at least half of Turkey’s provinces within six months before a voting takes place.
The requirement previously put the party in a difficult spot given the lack of clarity over the date of its first congress last December.
Soon after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s snap election move, the party officials scrambled to provide documents proving its eligibility.
But as of Sunday, all of the dispute came to an end.