26 Apr 2018

Iron Lady ready to challenge Erdoğan in 'panic elections'

By declaring elections only two months in advance, Erdoğan has left little time for opposition parties to organize and campaign. Still, Meral Akşener's new Good Party will be able to run, and possibly challenge the president.

Ans Boersma
Ans Boersma NewsMavens, Turkey
Source: Al-Monitor
Iron Lady ready to challenge Erdoğan in 'panic elections' - NewsMavens
Meral Akşener, Wikimedia Commons.

Why this story matters:

“One of the reasons behind Erdoğan’s surprise decision to bring presidential and parliamentary elections forward from the originally scheduled date of Nov. 3, 2019, was to exclude the newly formed right-wing Good Party by denying it time to fulfil all the conditions needed to qualify”, writes Amberin Zaman, columnist for Al-Monitor's Turkey Pulse.

When Erdoğan announced early elections, it immediately raised the question of whether the opposition would be able to unite. And they did.

The secular CHP party "lent" 15 of its lawmakers to fellow opposition party, The Good Party, to ensure they would have enough lawmakers in parliament to be able to participate in the elections. And, thanks to CHP's historic generosity, the party will be able to run, along with its charismatic leader, Meral Akşener, also called the Iron Lady, in the elections of June 24.

Akşener has a "catch-all" strategy. Coming from the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP), her new party focuses on social democrats, nationalists and conservatives. She has the potential to take votes from Turkey’s three biggest parties, including Erdoğan’s Ak Party.

Polls now suggest a neck-and-neck race between Erdoğan and Akşener in the second round of the upcoming elections.

Meral Akşener speaks to the imagination. She has a modern look, a good marriage and she is a grandmother -- all important aspects in Turkey’s society. She is an authentic Turkish woman with an impeccable reputation. She is feminine and a she-wolf at the same time. And the June elections will reveal if this Iron Lady is a match for Turkey's strongman.

Details from the story:

  • Meral Aksener and her Good Party can run in the upcoming presidential elections because CHP loaned 15 lawmakers to ensure that the party can participate. 
  • “[CHP leader] Kemal Kilicdaroglu is beyond all praise,” marveled Good leader Meral Akşener in a statement. “This is a democratic approach of historic proportions.”
  • The CHP’s manoeuvre has given renewed hope to millions of Turks long resigned to an Erdoğan victory as being inevitable.
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