Alarm bells are ringing for the CHP

Alarm bells are ringing for the CHP

When you compare the total votes of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) nationwide with the 2011 general elections and the last local elections, at the first glance you may have the impression that the main opposition party has maintained its position. 

When we consider the city council votes in 51 provinces and the district councils in 30 metropolises which are each, to a great extent, a criterion for political party distribution, the CHP gained a total of 11,481,000 votes on March 30. This corresponds to 25.58 percent of the votes. These are unofficial figures.

The CHP had won 11,122,000 nationwide in general elections in 2011, which corresponds to 25.98 percent of the votes. When you compare, there is about 360,000 more votes.

However, this does not particularly mean a real rise. When you consider that during the three years in between, the number of voters in Turkey has risen from 50,237,000 to 52,710,000, in other words, there is an addition of 2,473,000 voters; then, in this case, you should conclude the CHP actually went back a little bit. The reason for this is while the voters’ pie was growing, the rate of increase in the CHP’s votes has been behind the increase in total votes. When viewed from this angle, the CHP’s votes have dropped 0.4 percent in reality.

Out of the total of 81 provinces of Turkey, in 68 provinces the CHP’s votes have declined compared to 2011 general elections. Only in 13 provinces has the CHP been able to increase its votes compared to the 2011 elections. The three big cities lie in this category.

When election results are examined according to regions, there are some interesting clues. For example, in Thrace, in the three cities of the region, namely Edirne, Tekirdağ and Kırklareli, there has been a decline. The losses here in average vary between 7 to 9 percent. For example, in the border province of Edirne, the rate of the votes of the CHP was 51.68 percent in 2011. In 2014, this rate declined to 42.65 percent. It is possible to say that these votes mostly went to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

When the Marmara Region is reviewed, as a general observation we can say the CHP has maintained its power in this region to a great extent. There are slight declines in five provinces and increases in three provinces, which balance each other out.  

In the Mediterranean, five out of six provinces have recorded a decline. The fall rates are all considerable, being 4.5 percent in Adana, 3.5 percent in Mersin, 2.4 percent in Hatay. In the Aegean Region, six out of eight provinces have fallen. The decline rate is mostly 2 to 3 points, but in Manisa, it goes up to 7 percent.

In the Black Sea coast, in the west, the CHP has declined in all of the six provinces, in the east, in five of the six provinces. In this region, the fall rates of 9.1 in Bartın, 6 in Sinop, 5.6 in Samsun, 2.6 in Trabzon and 4.9 in Rize are notable.

In the Central and East Anatolia regions, except for limited exceptions, there is a general decline. The CHP has been in a weak position for a long time in Central Anatolia, but the last elections have deepened this trend. For example, the CHP had been around 10 percent in those provinces, whereas it dropped even below this level in last elections. Votes for the CHP fell to 9.5 percent from 15.1 percent in Kırıkkale, from 10.9 to 7.4 in Yozgat and in Çankırı from 6 percent to 3.5 percent.

It is no different in East Anatolia. For example, in Erzincan, where the CHP was able to win one parliamentary seat, there is a drop from 30.2 percent to 25.1 percent. Meanwhile, in Erzurum, an important center in East Anatolia, CHP’s district council votes have gone down to 3 percent.

When we come to the southeast, we see that in the region where the Kurdish population is dominant, where the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has the main role, the CHP’s vote rates are generally around 1 to 2 percent; however, in four provinces (Hakkari, Şırnak, Van and Ağrı) it went below 1 percent.

As a result, we can say that in much of the geography of Turkey, the CHP is displaying trends of remarkable “shrinking.” If this contraction inclination were restricted to a limited number of provinces, then it would have been explained by local election dynamics, but the extensity of the shrinking points to the existence of a very serious problem.