Few. Those who follow my writing will know that for some time now, a new group has formed among the voters of People's Alliance that I like to refer to as the “restless conservative.” According to our polling, the group makes up about 10-15 percent of the overall electorate.
I attempted to describe the characteristics of the group in an op-ed piece I published two weeks ago for Duvar English. Today, I would like to discuss another dissatisfaction that is common with restless conservatives as well as with other segments of society.
It has been two years since Turkey embraced a presidential system which was adopted through a referendum held in 2017 and effectively implemented after the general elections of June 24, 2018. This sparked a flurry of debate regarding the new system’s success or lack thereof, which continues unabated. At Turkiye Raporu.com, in the first survey we conducted during the month of July, we asked about the general attitude towards the change in the government’s system in Turkey.
The results reveal a very clear picture. 61 percent of society prefers the parliamentary system as a form of governance. In contrast, 39 percent of society believes that the current system should continue. 39 percent is an important proportion. Because when we asked who could fix the economy in a poll we conducted in May, 39 percent of respondents gave the name of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In the new system, the gap between 39 percent and 51 percent is wide one.
The political party breakdown is also quite telling. 27 percent of AK Party voters and 44 percent of MHP voters are in favor of returning to the parliamentary system. A promising result in this table is that more than half of those who preferred the parliamentary system stressed that they prefer a new parliamentary system that is stronger than the old parliamentary system. Politics has seen better times when it comes to addressing the citizens’ demands, yet this rising demand demonstrates that there will be space for a more democratic form of governance within the coming years.
Leading up to the April 16 referendum in 2017, the campaign for the presidential government system was presented as the harbinger of a bright future that would solve all of society’s problems and which was accepted by 52 percent of the popular vote. However, since then, people have realized that we have steered away from what we were promised.
The event that best characterizes the confusion in terms of governance was an event that occurred these past weeks when a university was founded by mistake. The university was meant to be a faculty. The parliament later corrected that mistake.
The opposition sees these results. The change in the government system will serve as one of the opposition’s main issues in its communication as we approach the next election. Given the current vote shares and emerging trends, it would come as no surprise if the government itself were to join the opposition in its criticism of the new system.