Is the Turkish electorate motivated for the elections?
Playing with numbers is entertainment for me. Just as the elections are approaching; I thought of playing with the numbers of the past elections.
And when I played with numbers, I saw that the local elections of 30 March, 2014, differ distinctly from the elections that have been held for a long time.
In 2011, there were 52,806,000 registered voters, including voters abroad.
In 2014, as voters abroad could not vote for local elections, the number of voters decreased to 52,608,000 million.
In other words, if we take the number of voters in 2011 to be 100, in 2014, we had 99.62 voters. For Sunday’s June 7 elections there are 56.6 registered voters including voters abroad. The index is 107.25.
When we apply this exercise over the total number of valid votes, we can see 2014’s distinction.
In 2011, 42,941, 700 valid votes were cast; in 2014, 44, 866, 000.
In other words, if we are to take 2011 to be 100, this number is 104.48 in 2014.
Remember, in the local elections, voters for greater municipalities cast their votes for four different candidates; in places where there was not a greater municipality, that number increased to 5.
In other words, compared to the general elections, referendum and presidential election, local elections were much more complicated. Thus, the probability for a wrong casting of votes and therefore casting invalid votes was much higher.
Despite this fact, even if the total number of voters was 200,000 less, there was an increase of nearly 2 million on the number of valid votes.
Which means our political parties have motivated their constituencies to participate in the elections.
To what degree the voters are motivated to participate to the Sunday elections?
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he sees a fatigue among the voters and party organizations. “These are not like the past elections,” he says.
If the electorate will be as willing as it was in the 2014 local elections, the number of valid votes could reach 46-47 million.
Now, continue reading, bearing in mind the special motivation and interest of the electorate in 2014:
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lost 1,929,000 votes from 2011 to 2014.
Not only could it not benefit from a 2 million increase in valid votes, but, on top of that, it lost votes.
If we are to accept the AKP’s votes in 2011 to be 100, it has fallen to 90.98 in 2014. (If we recall that the index for valid votes was 104.48, the loss of the AKP’s votes is more than 9 index points, nearly 14 points.)
In reverse, the Nationalist Movement Party gained an additional 2,321,500 votes from 2011 to 2014. In other words, when it was 100 in 2011 it went to 141.56 in 2014.
There is an increase in the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) but it is very limited. The CHP gained 337,786 from 2011 to 2014, while the HDP won 109,083 new votes. When you look at the increase in valid votes, you can assume that both parties have maintained their positions or even went backwards slightly because the rise in votes for both parties (103.03 for the CHP and 103.87 for the HDP) is below the increase in valid votes.
Now, let’s go back to the beginning: Is the electorate as motivated as it was in the 2014 local elections? Will it have the appetite to participate in elections?
Because it will be that appetite and willingness that will determine the outcome of the election.
Not late to join ‘Vote and Beyond’
It was nearly a month ago when it was revealed in research conducted jointly by Koç University and the Open Society Foundation that nearly 60 percent of the electorate did not trust election results and were suspicious that there was election fraud.
Those convinced of fraud are more among the electorate of the opposition and less among the voters for the ruling party. Still, it is 60 percent of the total.
There is a tremendous lack of confidence concerning the elections, while it should be the first and foremost issue politicians should be thinking about.
The politician that loses screams, saying, “There was fraud” but only very few of the claims turn out to be true. But, in the meantime, damage is done and there is lack of confidence among the voters.
Surprisingly, holding elections are one of the few good and trustable things that Turkey does. In addition, the process is totally transparent and open to inspection.
That’s why initiatives like “Vote and Beyond” are very meaningful and necessary. Those who are suspicious should join them.