In a first since 2002, main opposition CHP might win a parliamentary seat from Diyarbakır

Twenty-four days before the May 14 general elections, experts believe that election results in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır might be “interesting.” While the supporters of the ruling AKP are breaking away from the party, the possibility of the main opposition CHP gaining a parliamentary seat from Diyarbakır is being scrutinized.

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar

Candidates of political parties have started their election campaigns in the Kurdish-majority province Diyarbakır, which will send 12 deputies to the parliament in the elections to be held on May 14. 

In the 2018 general elections, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) won nine parliamentary seats as it dominates the Kurdish political movement in the city. On the other hand, the ruling People's Alliance won three parliamentary seats while the opposition Nation Alliance failed to gain any seats even though it received seven percent of the votes. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) last had an MP from Diyarbakır in 2002.

According to the survey results, Kurdish voters who have broken away from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) prefer the Green Left Party and the CHP. The Green Left Party became the HDP's backup party for the upcoming elections as the HDP faces the risk of closure.

Yüksel Genç, the coordinator of the Center for Socio-Political Field Research, believes that Diyarbakır will witness one of the most "interesting" elections in recent years. According to Genç, a significant voter base who broke away from the AKP in the region has shifted to the CHP, and there is a possibility that Diyarbakır will send a CHP member to the parliament.

The CHP nominated Sezgin Tanrıkulu in the first rank for Diyarbakır. He is a human rights lawyer known for his defense of the rights of Kurdish citizens and one of the heavyweights of the party. 

Genç said that according to their surveys, the CHP's vote rate in the southeastern Kurdish provinces remain at 4-5 percent, while the vote rate of CHP leader and presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is around 70 percent.

Genç continued as follows: "President and People's Alliance candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lost serious votes in the region and dropped from 24 percent to 21 percent. Erdoğan will probably receive about 4-5 points below the votes he received in 2018. Kılıçdaroğlu's high vote share is due to the fact that he received support from HDP voters as a block."

According to political scientist Cuma Çiçek, the Kurdish population demand participation in the central government, expansion of political rights, reform of the mother tongue issue, and a friendly attitude toward foreign policy from Kılıçdaroğlu.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)