What can Serbian opposition learn from elections in Turkey?

The opposition in Serbia can learn from the Turkish opposition and its victory at the repeated local elections in Istanbul recently how joining forces towards the realization of a common goal and a positive campaign is the way to go.

This is a conclusion that the Serbian opposition parties drew from the victory of opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) over Binali Yildirim from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the race for the mayor of Istanbul.

When asked what he learned from Imamoglu’s election win, President of the Freedom and Justice Party, Dragan Djilas, repeated his words when he and his colleagues were insulted by the  SNS sympathizers.

“We really need to talk to people. We should not hate in response to hate or to divide people into patriots and those who are not. We all live in this country and love this country. 90% of those people who vote for the SNS, do that because they really believe what the SNS saying, while 10% is there only for certain benefits. We need to talk to them, they are not the enemy. Imamoglu won the elections fair and square and then the results were cancelled. At repeated elections, he won again. When manage to win over at least a little bit of media freedom and fair election rules, then we will win,” Djilas said.

Zoran Lutovac, president of the Democratic Party (DS), says that what the DS and the Alliance for Serbia were trying to do for Serbia, the Turkish opposition has already managed to do that for Turkey.

“They (the Turkish opposition) gathered around a common platform, around common interests of all, which is to overthrow the autocrats and lay the foundations for normal society and a regulated political community. The fact that the Turkish opposition has succeeded to beat autocrat Erdogan with such approach shows that we are on the right track and that it is important to carry on and mobilize dissatisfied people, which is the majority of Serbia today,” said Lutovac.

In addition to the opposition coming together regardless of their ideological differences and creating a unique opposition front, Borko Stefanovic, Vice President of the SSP, believes that we can learn from the Turkish opposition how to lead a positive campaign.

Political consultant Djordje Belamaric told Danas that after the annulment of the election results in Istanbul, the victory of the opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglua depended exclusively on discipline.

“The election conditions and media freedom in Turkey are worse than in Serbia. However, Ekrem Imamoglu and his campaign remained disciplined and continued to target topics relevant to voters and offer serious political solutions (employment, fight against corruption, a better living standard), instead of attacking Erdogan’s regime. They defined a communication strategy that offered the answer to the voters’ question: “Why should I vote for the opposition?” instead of attacking the regime and talking about unfair election conditions and cancelling the votes? Voters always choose between two options – am I prepared to risk the stability and certainty in which I live (a salary of 300 euro per month) or do I vote for people who attack the government? The victory over the “velvet” dictator is based on a serious policy that gives hope. This hope must have a greater value than the stability in voters’ lives. Let’s not also forget the members, activists and volunteers who are ready to sacrifice for hope, to work during the campaign and to supervise the elections,” Belamaric explains.

This week’s repeated elections in Istanbul, after Erdogan lost in Ankara and Izmir and the major cities in which about 65% of voters live, were very important for Erdogan, as Istanbul was his hometown where he began his political career. He once said that whoever loses votes in Istanbul – loses Turkey. Analysts say that this was the vote that will mark the future direction of the country.

(Danas, 27.06.2019)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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