As previously discussed at F&V, Turkey has made the constitutional change from parliamentary to premier-presidential system. The country’s first-ever direct election of the presidency is on 10 August (first round).
A headline today is a nice summary of the sort of things presidentialization can do to political parties: “Turkey’s secular opposition endorses devout Muslim for president“.
The two parties in question, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would be unlikely to have nominated for prime minister someone like Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, described as “devout Muslim tasked with winning votes from the AKP’s traditionally pious electorate”. They also would have been somewhat unlikely to forge a pre-electoral coalition. However, given the need to appeal to the median voter against the incumbent Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will be seeking to move to the directly elected presidency, the opposition parties have devised a new vote-seeking strategy.
As the news item also makes clear, not everyone in the parties is happy about it. Yes, I have seen this sort of thing before…