In designating candidates rom among a large number o aspirants, the national leadership is naturally constrainedby the preerences o the party’s provincial branches, theexpectations o voters, and the “manpower” needs o theparty among others. Te challenge is indeed ormidable. Inregard to the oncoming elections, in which 550 seats willbe contested, while the AKP expects to win 300 or so, it hasreceived over 6,000 applications. In the CHP, which may have around 120 sae seats, the numbers reached almost4,000. Tese include, in addition to the incumbents, retiredhigh-ranking bureaucrats, university proessors, journalists,union and other civil society leaders, and many who havetoiled in provincial organizations or years, hoping that oneday their turn to serve in the legislature would come. Teaspirations o some are ullled, but many are rustrated.Tis time, expressing that intra-party democracy would beenhanced by the holding o primaries, the CHP chose tohold primaries in 29 districts where a number o incum-bents ailed to get to an “electable” spot on the ticket. imewill tell i the party will bring more districts into holdingprimaries in the uture.
Candidate Selection as a Method of Change
Observers look or signs o change as the parties announcetheir candidate lists. Tis time, it seems, all parties haveintroduced major changes. Changes in the CHP wereexpected since the party had recently changed its leader.Te new leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, had already begun tochange members o the leadership cadre and ideologicalunderpinnings o the party, moving rom a strongly nation-alistic line to one in closer conormity with social democ-racy. Not surprisingly, 64 o 101 incumbents did not makeit to the list. But the mood or change has not been connedto the CHP. Te governing AKP list ailed to include 167o 333 incumbents. MHP removed 26 out o 72. Te ewincumbents who chose not to run are included in thesegures. Also, in each party, some incumbents have beenplaced in non-electable places on the ballot.What does this major turnover o candidates and thereoreturnover o deputies indicate? o begin with, all partiescame under pressure to increase the number o womenand young persons. Although the numbers are in need o improvement, each party has increased its number o elect-able women considerably. Te percentage o women in thenext parliament may reach 20 percent, more than doublethe current gure. Te urkish parliament will also have aew members younger than 30 or the rst time.Second, all parties have tried to expand the basis on whichthey try to build a winning coalition. Te CHP has givenplaces to a prominent Kurdish lawyer noted or his recordin striving or the improvement o the observation o human rights, to leaders o civil society organizations, andto persons who are more amiliar with the operation o themarket economy. Nevertheless, the party continues to beaced with a dilemma. Its constituents include many voterswho saw the urkish military as a guarantee or the protec-tion o the regime’s secular character. Tey nd the ongoingErgenekon trials as an eort by the religiously orientedgovernment to undermine the (political) power o military.wo persons, a university proessor traditionally associ-ated with the center right and a journalist, both still underarrest, have been put on electable spots. While such gesturesmay keep the loyalty o the ideological secularists oensuspected o pro-military sympathies to the party, there isno question that the AKP will take the opportunity to dwellupon the questionable pro-democracy credentials o themajor opposition.Te MHP has recruited some ormer politicians o thecenter right as candidates, hoping to appeal to those who
The new leader, Kemal
Kılıçdaroğlu, had already begun
to change members of theleadership cadre and ideologicalunderpinnings of the party, moving from a strongly nationalistic line to one in closer conformity withsocial democracy.