Good Party has potential for electoral success – columnist

Columnist Sedat Ergin has looked at the prospects for Meral Akşener’s new Good Party and concluded that whilst there is much that could throw the party off-course, it does also contain the seeds of potential electoral success.

“At first glance,” he says, “it calls to mind the model in the founding story of ANAP [the Motherland Party] from the mixing of four different political tendencies in 1982.”

Turgut Özal’s Motherland Party – which he claimed was founded on the joint traditions of the democratic left, liberal right, nationalist right and Islamist right – dominated Turkish politics from 1983 to 1991.

Many of its core centre-right voters would later come to support Tansu Çiller’s True Path Party (DYP), in which Akşener began her political career.

Ergin says that the Good Party’s main task is to hive off the less-committed segments of the AK Party’s base:

The Good Party leader will in this context fix her eye on the parts that she thinks she can break off the AK Party. It is no secret that the AK Party has already gone through this erosion in the April 16 constitutional referendum, even if limited to certain big cities. Akşener will also be trying to draw to her side various segments from the old centre-right parties such as the DYP and ANAP which have turned towards the AK Party and settled there.

However, he does acknowledge that the party have a mountain to climb – and that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would have the power to ensure the election took place under undemocratic circumstances if he wanted to:

One of the fundamental issues for political parties in 2017 Turkey is the creation of a just environment of competition. Parties and their ideas should be able to compete in a true environment of competition, and society should be able to watch this competition and make their choice.