As Turkey prepares for elections next year to select both the president and parliamentary deputies, leading pollster Metropoll’s study showed that the opposition alliance would have trouble outpolling incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan without support from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Metropoll chief Özer Sencar shared a September report on Twitter, based on a survey of 2,119 people in 28 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.
Türkiye'nin Nabzı Eylül ayı araştırması; NUTS 2 sistemine göre 26 bölgeyi esas alan 28 ilde tabakalı örnekleme ve ağırlıklandırma yöntemi ile 17-20 Eylül 2022 tarihlerinde 2119 kişi ile 0,95 güven sınırları içinde +/- 2,09 hata payı ile CATI yöntemiyle gerçekleştirilmiştir. pic.twitter.com/yvidHPPqm5
— Ozer Sencar (@ozersencar1) October 22, 2022
The survey referred to the presidential election, which is due to be held next year alongside the parliamentary elections. The results showed that, despite years of economic hardship and political turmoil, Erdoğan has a good chance to retain the vast powers he has held since the controversial shift from a parliamentary to a presidential system in 2018.
Turkey’s election system first pits several presidential candidates against one another in a first round, then moves onto a head-to-head second round featuring the two leadings candidates if no absolute majority is won in the initial vote.
The polling company asked respondents to select their choice of presidential candidate from Erdoğan, main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the CHP’s Ankara mayor Mansur Yavaş, and a candidate from the HDP.
Based on the survey, 42 percent of the voters would vote for Erdoğan, 23 percent for Kılıçdaroğlu, 17 percent for Yavaş and 12 percent for the HDP candidate.
Roughly 2 percent of respondents said they would lodge protest votes, and around 4 percent said they did not know who they would vote for or were undecided.
The result shows that the main opposition bloc of six parties led by the CHP is already on the back foot in a head-to-head against Erdoğan before the election campaign has started in earnest. Observers see Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s control over the country’s institutions and backing from a compliant media as an advantage that is likely to win them more votes as the election draws nearer.
This would make the sizable portion of votes commanded by the HDP a decisive factor in the vote.
The HDP is the party with the strongest support from Kurds, Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, many of whom have suffered under repressive policies implemented by the AKP since 2015.
However, with a strong Turkish nationalist presence in the opposition bloc supporting some of the ruling party’s policies related to Kurds, there is no guarantee that Kurdish voters will side with an opposition candidate against Erdoğan.
CHP Istanbul MP Gürsel Tekin ruffled feathers among these nationalists when he said a prospective opposition government could grant a ministry to the HDP.
The comment provoked a response from Meral Akşener, the head of the CHP’s largest partners the Good Party, who outright rejected a deal with the pro-Kurdish party.
Ali Babacan, the head of the Democracy and Progress Party also said there was no consensus about HDP’s inclusion in the opposition bloc.
Meanwhile, the lowering of the parliamentary threshold to 7 percent this year means the AKP’s electoral allies from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are likely to retain their place in parliament.