Eyes were on intensified unification negotiations between the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP) after the two center-right parties announced on Saturday that they would merge before the general elections slated for July.
DSP leader Zeki Sezer and CHP leader Deniz Baykal met Saturday night to discuss ways to unite forces after Sezer dismissed a call from Baykal to close down his party and merge with the CHP. Talks between the DSP and CHP officials began 9:45 p.m. and lasted until 3:00 a.m. Baykal and Sezer were present in the first one-and-a-half-hour section of the meeting at CHP headquarters. The talks ended with an agreement under which the DSP members would join the CHP without closing down the DSP, sources said. The DSP rejected complete dissolution, saying the party reflects a heritage from late Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, a former CHP member who later parted ways with the party and created the DSP in 1985.Officials of the two parties discussed different formulas during the hours-long talks on Saturday night. One point of contention was a demand from DSP leader Zeki Sezer to get a contingent of at least 50 deputies reserved for DSP members from Baykal. Baykal insisted that 20 deputies would be enough, and a compromise of 30 deputies eventually resolved the dispute.
A remaining sticking point concerns the DSP’s demand to have more parties included in the CHP-DSP front. The DSP wants the united front to be open to the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) and the December 10 Movement, a platform of smaller leftist parties backed by some nongovernmental organizations. Baykal, however, is cool towards such a proposal. Observers say the DSP may seek alliance with the SHP and the December 10 Movement if attempts to unite with the CHP fail.
Both the CHP and the DSP are under public pressure to unite against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators gathering in the western provinces of Manisa and Çanakkale on Saturday called on the two parties to unite forces to counter the AK Party in the coming polls after the center-right True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) announced an agreement to unite under the roof of a new party, the Democrat Party (DP). If these two parties fail to make necessary arrangements in time to enter elections under the name of DP, they will go to the polls under the name of the DYP, sources said.
According to an early election calendar announced by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) last week, the ballots do not include the DP as one of the candidate parties for the elections, which are expected to take place on July 22. ANAVATAN and the DYP are now expected to formalize their decision to merge at upcoming party conventions, slated for June 2 and May 20, respectively. According to the merger agreement, Ağar and Mumcu will lead the party as co-chairmen for equal periods of time until the merger is finalized. The DP’s candidate for prime minister will be Ağar. The party’s emblem will be a horse on a map of Turkey, a combination of the emblems of ANAVATAN and the DYP. In the last elections in 2002, neither the DYP or ANAVATAN succeeded in obtaining the 10 percent of the vote needed to hold seats in Parliament, and they have held merger discussions over the past few weeks.
Today's ZamanLast Mod: 07 Mayıs 2007, 12:45