"Turkey's Local Elections: Liberal Middle-Class Voters Abandon AKP
By Soner Cagaptay
March 30, 2009
On March 29, Turkish voters went to the polls to elect mayors of more than eighty cities and two thousand smaller municipalities, as well as members of eighty-one provincial councils. Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 39 percent of the vote, the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and Nationalist Action Party (MHP) won 23 percent and 16 percent respectively, and the remainder went to smaller parties. The March 29 poll was the first election in which the AKP has seen a drop in support since coming to power in 2002, a result due largely to the flight of liberal middle-class voters from the party. This noticeable drop in support from such an important voter class is likely to have significant consequences for the AKP and the future of Turkish politics."
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