The Good Party (IP) Chairperson Meral Akşener continues to confront the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the “table for six.” Recalling that she “drank the hemlock” for Kılıçdaroğlu’s victory, she recently said that “there is no such thing as the Nation Alliance anymore” and that “the IP and CHP are rivals.”
Akşener has been complaining about “CHP bossing around all the other opposition parties” and added that her party’s popular support weakened because she decided to join the opposition alliance.
The main opposition party notably refuses to respond to Akşener’s barrage of criticism – except for sporadic and unhurtful objections. That’s because the CHP still hopes that the IP, which just unveiled its mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara, will endorse the main opposition’s candidates in the home stretch. In other words, the CHP’s silence is intended to keep alive the possibility of a new partnership with the IP for the March 2024 municipal election. At the same time, the CHP leadership hopes that the IP base could still support CHP candidates.
We will see whether that approach pays off at the CHP’s congress in approximately 90 days. The March 2024 election will determine which party’s interests will be hurt by their ongoing effort to influence each other’s supporters. Obviously, the current situation might harm both movements simultaneously.
CHP is ‘bossing around’
Akşener does not just criticize the CHP “bossing around” the rest and the idea of “alliance” either. Instead, she reflects on the entire history of her party’s partnership with CHP since 2018. That is part of a new plan to adapt to the presidential system and become the country’s main opposition party.
Accordingly, the IP chairperson insists on contesting the 2024 and 2028 elections without joining any alliance. Kılıçdaroğlu will face an uphill battle to persuade Akşener’s movement after the CHP congress in November. It would be misleading to assume that “provincial-level collaboration” is easy because Akşener has been criticizing the main opposition for a long time. If she returns to those comments, she cannot find an antidote to the “hemlock.” Indeed, Akşener’s plan for the 2028 election would be dead in the water even if Ekrem Imamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş were to win the mayoral races in Istanbul and Ankara, respectively, in the end.
IP was glue that held ‘table’ together
Another point that the CHP misses is that the IP was the glue that kept intact the old Nation Alliance and granted some legitimacy to the main opposition and its chairperson in the eyes of right-wing nationalist voters. In other words, an opposition alliance without the IP would significantly differ from the partnerships of 2019 and 2023.
The million-dollar question is whether the CHP could form an official alliance with the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party-Green Left Party (HDP-YSP) along with the right-wing fringe parties in the IP’s absence. Would the right-wing fringe parties join that alliance? Even if they would, to some extent, would their presence influence voters? Provided that the IP will target the People’s Alliance, the CHP and HDP-YSP simultaneously, what will right-wing and nationalist voters who voted for opposition candidates think?
Kılıçdaroğlu, who sees his ability to unite the opposition as his main source of political capital, will try to form a new alliance. After all, the IP’s absence would make any partnership more likely to fail compared to the May 2023 elections. Furthermore, Kılıçdaroğlu’s initiatives to “embrace the right” and “make amends” (which he did not actually discuss with CHP officials at any point) will become meaningless if he has to do business with the HDP-YSP and the Workers Party of Türkiye (TIP).
Needless to say, the CHP has already discouraged the supporters of right-wing fringe parties by saying that it “wasted 39 parliamentary seats” on them. Having lost plenty of time due to internal turmoil, the CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu fuel anger and lay the groundwork for an emotional break at the popular level.
In this article
- 2024 Turkish Local Elections
- Ekrem İmamoğlu
- İstanbul Alliance
- Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
- Mansur Yavaş
- Meral Akşener
- Özgür Özel
- Table for Six | Turkish Opposition Alliance
- Turkish Opposition
- Türkiye's Good Party (IP)
- Türkiye's Good Party (IP) Chairperson
- Türkiye's Green Left Party (YSP)
- Türkiye's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)
- Türkiye's Republican People's Party (CHP)
- Türkiye's Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairperson