As Turkey’s local elections date of March 31 looms closer, research firms say there might be surprising results due to the alliances introduced in the 2018 general elections, news portal Gazete Duvar reported on Wednesday.
Ihsan Aktas, chief executive of the research firm GENAR, told Gazete Duvar’s reporter, Nergis Demirkaya, that, according to previous election statistics, floating votes usually settle between 5-6 percent about 10 days before the election day, however, Aktas claims it still seems to be around 10 percent, which means any outcome is possible.
According to the chair of the Gezici research firm, Murat Gezici, the ruling party is having a hard time in the local elections in an unprecedented fashion, despite the advantages offered by the state instruments.
“The most important issues of the country are as follows: the economy, unemployment, terrorism, and Syrian migrants. For the first time in 10 years, terrorism is the third major issue, whereas it has always been first,” Gezici is quoted as saying by Demirkaya.
The discourse about issues such as survival of the state, terrorism, and an international plot targeting Turkey, does not appear to be helping a surge in the votes for the ruling AK Party, according to Gezici.
Gezici’s findings suggest that 25 percent of the AK Party voters swing, while 85 percent of the swing voters voted for the AK Party and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in previous elections.
“67 percent of people between the ages of 18-27 will vote for the opposition, while 70 percent of people above the age of 44 will vote for the ruling AK Party. The floating votes are the people between the ages of 28-44, mostly,” noted Gezici.
When asked about the two biggest metropolitan municipalities of Turkey, Istanbul and Ankara, Gezici said that their polls indicate a tight race for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
AK Party candidate Binali Yildirim holds 50,2 percent of the votes, while the opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, 49,2 percent. Mehmet Ozhaseki, AK Party’s mayoral candidate for Ankara might emerge victorious, according to Gezici.
Kemal Ozkiraz, chair of the Avrasya research firm, claimed that the government’s “survival of the state” discourse is adopted to veer the subject from the economy. Ozkiraz asserts that the opposition is on the right track, not taking the bait to enter the discussion of survival.
Pointing to the existence of a libertarian portion of AKP base who uphold western values, Ozkiraz alleged that the change in the votes for AKP will come from this segment.
According to the findings of Avrasya, the People’s Alliance – formed by AKP and MHP – might get 45-47 percent of the votes instead of the 52 percent they reached in the 2018 general elections.
Besides Ankara and Istanbul, the Mediterranean cities of Antalya, Adana, Mersin, and the Aegean cities of Balikesir and Denizli, are the ones likely to have mayors from different parties after the local elections, according to Ozkiraz.