The AKP, which is basing its plans on winning the 2019 elections, has had a huge shock from the results of polls conducted into its electoral support both in local government and overall.
With the party’s overall vote having fallen to around 34% before “don’t knows” are distributed, the vote at the municipal level, particularly in Ankara and Istanbul, is well below the national level. President Tayyip Erdoğan, who thinks that the level of vote obtained in the local elections in March 2019 will be a pointer towards the presidential and parliamentary election, fears that, even if he is elected president, his party will lose its majority in parliament.
Erdoğan is reported to have set the process in motion that started with Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbaş’s resignation in response to poll results. Erdoğan, saying at the party’s Afyon camp, “No difference should emerge between the presidential and parliamentary election. Otherwise, we will have trouble in parliament,” called attention to this danger from the party’s point of view. Apart from the drop in the party’s share of the vote, another point that is troubling the party is the increase to thirty-something percent of the “don’t knows”. AKP staff, who compare this situation to the scene in 2001, conclude that the electorate is distancing itself from all parties and this will be conducive to the appearance of new formations. From what has been gleaned, in one poll, the party’s share of the vote before “don’t knows” are distributed is 34%, with the CHP on 20-25%, while the MHP and HDP appear to be below the threshold. Around 30% of the vote is said to be made up of “don’t knows”. The party’s vote is said to be well below national level in certain municipalities, particularly Ankara and Istanbul. In terms of the lowest level of electoral support, the most striking example is reputed to be Ankara, where the vote stands at half the party’s national level.
Prime-Minister to district governors: Do not get caught up in legislation
It is notable that Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım sent messages to the governors of 81 provinces saying, “Unjust treatment is not part of our values” and “Do not get caught up between legislation and implementation. Never get bogged down in requirements of form. Make mistakes but do not commit treason.” Yıldırım held a dinner for the governors of 81 provinces at Çankaya Mansion. Yıldırım passed on the following messages in his speech at the dinner:
- Unjust treatment is not part of our values: I want to give you important recommendations and warnings. It is important for you to enact procedures painstakingly in a careful, meticulous manner in the fight against FETO and the PKK. Unjust treatment is not part of our values.
- Do not commit treason: Do not get caught up between legislation and implementation. In doing the country’s and people’s work, do not fear making procedural mistakes. Never get bogged down in requirements of form. Work in the field cannot be done without procedural errors. One who is fastidious so as not to make a mistake cannot get work done. You are obliged to make a choice. Are you to get work done or are you to cling to legislation? Make mistakes but do not commit treason.
Rising fear behind the removal of AKP mayors from their posts