In spite of the leader

Good election results for opposition party CHP: they reached 23% of the vote, up from 18% in the last local elections in 2004. The AKP is losing support, ending up with only 39%, after almost 42% in 2004 and 47% in the general elections two years ago. AKP-leader Erdogan announced before the elections that he would consider the outcome successful with a minimum of 42% for the AKP. ‘We shall study the results closely.’

They probably will, but what always strikes me here in Turkey is that these sorts of ‘close studies’ never seem to have any effect on the parties leadership. In the AKP’s case, I don’t think it would do the party any good if there was a change of leadership because Erdogan is popular and according to many people charismatic, but the ‘leadership question’ is not even being considered. And not at the CHP either. They won, okay, but that is certainly not because of their national leader, Deniz Baykal. He has been the party leader forever, and he is very unpopular, even among CHP voters. His very nationalist and anti-reformist stance has turned many people against him. If the CHP too were to study the election results closely, they would learn that they won in spite of their leader. So probably Baykal won’t order a study of the results, and if he does, he will not draw any conclusions about his leadership. A Turkish leader is just untouchable.

This morning I went into the election results of the cities and towns I have written about. I’d like to share them with you, with a link to the story or blog I’ve written about it in the lead up to the elections:

Istanbul: AKP wins with 44%, CHP had good candidate with Kilicdaroglu but got only 37%. Interesting detail: CHP party leader Baykal didn’t give Kilicdaroglu a chance to speak at big CHP rallies in Istanbul.

Adana: it was exciting, but as expected Durak won, this time running for the MHP. Surprise is that the CHP came second and AKP candidate Bilici only third.
Update April 1: this seemed to be the election result in Adana, but things changed. With all the votes counted, MHP and AKP both got 29% and a bit, with MHP winning. But there is doubt about proper counting, so now the votes are recounted. To be continued!

Later update & final result: Durak chosen

Büyükada (and the other Istanbul islands): despite support from businessmen, the AKP candidate didn’t make it and got only 36%. CHP candidate wins with 54%.

Diyarbakir: big success for pro-Kurdish DTP, which beat the AKP with 65% against 31%. It seems Diyarbakir didn’t sleep last night but celebrated.

Tunceli (whole province): AKP handed out fridges and TV’s, but voters couldn’t be bought: DTP wins in Tunceli. It’s one of the eight provinces in DTP hands.

‘a town in the region of Batman’, which was Sason: the mayor was so confident that he would get support from landlords and win the election again, but apparently the landlords decided another candidate was better. Sason stays in AKP hands, but with another mayor (the AKP decided to run with a candidate other than the current mayor, who decided to run for a smaller party).

‘a Turkish village’ (whose name I will not reveal): the businessman I wrote about, will be okay: he didn’t support the AKP candidate openly but did contribute to his election campaign financially, and the AKP candidate won. For the first time: up untill now the village has been CHP.

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