Turkey’s opposition bloc ahead of ruling party alliance in 103 election polls

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Turkey’s opposition bloc is leaving the ruling party’s alliance behind according to the results of a study of 103 polls conducted by a variety of pollsters, the Kronos news website reported on Friday. 

The Nation Alliance, consisting of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party, has managed to secure more support than the Public Alliance, made up of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), according to a study combining the results of 103 surveys conducted by 21 polling companies.

The results of the study were announced by Kemal Özkiraz, president of the Eurasia Public Research Center (AKAM), on TELE 1 on Thursday. 

Total support for the CHP and the İYİ Party was 4 percentage points on average above that for the AKP and MHP, Özkiraz said, noting that the average support for the parties was calculated by omitting the results of polls that reported the highest and lowest amount of support for the party in question.

Özkiraz indicated that when undecided voters were distributed among parties, potential votes for the AKP declined to 31 percent in December from 37 percent in January of last year.

Referring to the drop in support for the Public Alliance’s members as a “systematic decline,” Özkiraz reported that support for the MHP dropped to 7.3 percent in December from 9.2 percent in January 2021.

“Public support for the CHP was 24.1 percent in January but rose to 26.7 percent in December. Support for the İYİ Party rose from 13.5 in January to 14.8 percent in December,” Özkiraz said regarding the situation of the Nation Alliance.

He further noted that support for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has consistently remained above the 10 percent election threshold.

The 10 percent election threshold, which is much higher than thresholds in democratic nations, has been a subject of criticism for years for being anti-democratic and an obstacle barring small parties from entering parliament. It was enacted following a military coup in 1980 and has remained in place despite calls to lower it.

The AKP has plans to reduce Turkey’s election threshold to 7 percent as the public support of its ally, MHP, is not adequate to push it over the current threshold.

In the last general election, held in June 2018, the AKP garnered a nationwide vote of 42.6 percent. However, public surveys have increasingly been showing the party’s public support to be slipping.

Erdoğan, whose ruling AKP has been in power as a single party government since 2002, was elected president in 2014 and reelected in 2018. His election in 2018 was under a presidential system as Turkey switched from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance after a public referendum in 2017. Under the presidential system, Erdoğan is accused of establishing one-man rule, destroying the separation of powers and silencing dissent.

The survey also comes amid a deteriorating economy in Turkey, where the lira has been plunging to record lows, accelerating inflation and eroding people’s purchasing power and making even basic commodities unaffordable.

The Turkish currency lost 48 percent against the US dollar last year and is the worst-performing currency among emerging markets.

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