Turkish public tired of elections, says opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said his party will not push for early elections, despite the reports of a split in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that, under the current, squeezed economic circumstances, holding snap elections would not be in the interests of the Turkish people, according to a report in left-wing daily BirGün.

“The people are tired of early elections. They are not on our agenda”, Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“It isn’t right to talk about elections when economic problems are rising rapidly and unemployment has risen to disastrous levels”, he said.

Including the local elections held last March and the rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election in June, there have been eight major polls held in Turkey in the past five years.

The national elections in November 2015 were snap elections, held after elections that year in June failed to deliver any party a majority in parliament.

The presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018 were also snap elections, held at the demand of the AKP’s coalition partners, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party.

The ruling coalition’s weak performance in this year’s local elections, in which the opposition won in five of Turkey’s six largest municipalities, has led to speculation that the AKP could be forced into holding local elections once again.

This speculation has been fuelled by reports of turmoil within the ruling party. Three leading figures from the party, former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, former president Abdullah Gül and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, are preparing to launch two new political parties that could attract renegade AKP members of parliament.

However, it would take a drastic rebellion for the ruling party to lose enough seats for the opposition to force snap elections against its will.

Central to the discontent at the AKP’s rule this year has been an economy that is yet to recover from a currency crisis and technical recession last year.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the government’s management of the Turkish economy had brought the country into international disrepute, particularly the appointment of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as the Minister of Treasury and Finance.

“We believe the management of the economy has to chance, it’s clear the son-in-law (Albayrak) can’t handle this job”, said the CHP leader.

“They’ve turned the administration of Turkey into a dynastic administration. We are seeing how wrong the economic decisions they are taking have been. Every decision they take is followed by a statement that these ‘successful steps will set right the economy’. But the opposite is true”, he said.