Will local elections be brought forward?
When we evaluate election results, we compare the percentages of votes of the presidential candidates with those of their parties.
There is a 10 percent difference between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and an eight percent difference between Muharrem İnce and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). An important appeal was made to this effect from the AKP vice chair Erol Kaya, who does not find this comparison right. “The presidential system is being evaluated by a parliamentary culture,” said Kaya.
Then how should we evaluate the results? According to the AKP vice chair, a difference between the election results of the presidential candidates and their parties is not a problem. On the contrary, there is a problem if there is no such difference. Since this is a new perspective, I wanted him to further explain his statements.
“In local elections, a difference arises between the votes the mayor and municipal council receives. On average, this is like three points. In the presidential system as well, a difference needs to arise between the presidential candidate and their party [in terms of votes.] If there is none, there is a problem in regard to the president,” said Kaya, giving examples from the 2014 local election results.
“In the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality election, Melih Gökçek received 44.9 percent of the votes, whereas the AKP received 42.39 percent in the municipal council. In the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality election, Kadir Topbaş received 48 percent of the votes, whereas the AKP’s votes amounted to 45 percent in the municipal council. In [the Aegean province of] İzmir, Aziz Kocaoğlu received 49.6 percent of the votes, whereas the CHP stayed at 45.8 percent in the municipal council. In [the Aegean province of] Manisa, Cengiz Ergün received 40.1 percent of the votes, whereas the MHP received 35.3 percent of the votes in the municipal council members’ election,” he said.
According to the AKP vice chair, this is the case for 1,398 municipalities without exception. Then what should be the difference of the percentage of votes between the presidential candidate and their party? “Since this is the first presidential election for Turkey, we do not know how much the difference should be exactly, but we will know in time,” said Kaya.
‘Akşener should resign’
Then is there a result that is problematic?
“The problem is Meral Akşener. She should have received a vote higher than her party, but instead received less. She should quit the party leadership,” said Kaya.
The same situation does not pertain to Muharrem İnce. Kaya’s evaluation of İnce is interesting. “If someone does not make it to the mayorship the first time, they would not make it the second time either. Muharrem İnce received a different percentage of votes from his party. But he came second in the competition. The person he competed against [Erdoğan] received over 70 percent more votes than he [İnce] did,” said the AKP vice chair.
I have also asked Kaya about his thoughts regarding the recent discussion on whether local elections originally scheduled for March 2019 should be brought forward to November 2018.
“With regard to climate conditions, budget, and supervision, normally local elections should take place in October or November,” he said.
Well, is the AKP working on this issue? “Right now we have a tight schedule. We will hold our congress on Aug. 18. In September, a process will take place to determine the candidates. Candidates will be determined for 1,398 mayors, 22,000 municipal council members, and provincial council members. This should be determined by November at the latest. Can the propaganda process be brought forward one month? That would be conducted in February. In this situation, I think the local elections would be held as scheduled,” the AKP vice chair said.
For now, the AKP does not seem to have preparations for the local elections to be brought forward. As for the June 24 election results, Kaya said, “Despite this, the AKP will receive the message the voters have given. And as our president has said, the party will take the necessary lessons.”