In a series of tweets on 15 April, the imprisoned former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş urged voters to lend their support to parties that have the potential to win parliamentary seats, and warned that failing to do so would benefit President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The HDP is running in the coming parliamentary election through the Green Left Party’s lists as a precaution as it is under imminent threat of closure by the courts. The party wanted to form a united list with other parties in the left-leaning Labour and Freedom Alliance, but the Worker’s Party of Turkey (TİP), which is also part of the alliance, wants to put forward their own candidates in certain cities while supporting the Green Left Party in others.
The former HDP mayor Gültan Kışanak, who has been in prison for seven years, is urging the TİP to unite under the joint list. “Nobody has the right to throw away even a single vote,” she said in an open letter from prison, in an echo of Demirtaş’s words of 3 April, “At this election, where the outcome of even a single parliamentary seat will determine our fate, we urge all socialists and democrats in Turkey to strengthen and support the Green Left Party lists”.
Demirtaş has further reiterated this message on Twitter, urging voters to support parties that could potentially win parliamentary seats. He warned that failing to do so would have dire consequences, and added that voters should unite and make tactical decisions for the sake of democracy.
Votes in the 14 May parliamentary elections will be counted according to the “D’Hondt system”, which is a mathematical system for approximating proportional representation, which can never be exact as you cannot have fractions of representatives. As a result, some vote totals below a given threshold go to the dominant party in the electoral district, even if that party represents interests in opposition to those of the voters whose votes it gains.
“I am sure you have very valid reasons for wanting to vote for a specific party. However, if a parliamentary seat cannot be won with your vote, there will be very serious consequences. Let’s be sensible and unite. Please give your vote to parties that have the potential to win parliamentary seats,” Demirtaş wrote on Twitter.
“Every vote that does not win a parliamentary seat will benefit Erdoğan. If the party you vote for cannot win a parliamentary seat, you will have darkened your own future with your own hands. There is no joking around with this. It is either full dictatorship or democracy. I know you already know this, but I wanted to stress it again. Greetings and love,” he added.
The Turkish general election is set to take place on 14 May, and the outcome is expected to have significant implications for the future of the country.