Critical passes between CHP and MHP
A remarkable political phenomenon that surfaced in the March 30 local elections is the transitivity that emerged between the grassroots of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a series of big cities of Turkey due to tactical reasons. This trend, which blossomed in the 2009 local elections, has become much clearer in the last election.
This cooperation pattern that shaped automatically between the grassroots of the two parties emerged mostly in three big cities and in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, in some cases, actually affecting the outcome.
In order to determine this mobility, we examined vote movements in some metropolises. In these big cities, every voter voted for the mayor. Plus they voted for district councils. Because the votes in both ballot boxes are equal, any shift in the voter’s choice is an indicator pointing out to the transitivity between the parties.
As a general observation, in the cases where the CHP candidate had a chance to win in metropolitan areas, a segment of MHP voters voted for that candidate. Similarly, in the cases where the MHP candidate had a chance, CHP voters supported him. However, the traffic in big cities especially flew from MHP to CHP.
Looking at Istanbul, the MHP candidate in Istanbul, Rasim Acar, received 349,000 votes (4 percent). The MHP’s district council votes all over Istanbul were 628,000. There is a difference of 279,000. Mustafa Sarıgül, the CHP candidate, received 381,000 more votes than his party received for district councils. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate Kadir Topbaş gained 267,000 more votes than his party’s votes. In this case, we can assume that a significant portion of the 279,000 MHP votes went to Sarıgül, but Topbaş has also received some MHP votes.
In İzmir, for example, MHP candidate Murat Taşer received 212,000 votes (7.89 percent), whereas the MHP’s votes for councils totaled 333,000 (12.68 percent). The difference is 121,000. We can consider that a significant portion of these votes went to CHP candidate Aziz Kocaoğlu, and a certain portion went to the AK Party candidate Binali Yıldırım.
The Ankara experiment will be remembered as the most striking model of the cooperation between the grassroots of the CHP and MHP. For the Ankara district councils, the MHP received 543,000 votes (17.31 percent). On the other hand, MHP candidate Professor Mevlut Karakaya’s votes were – almost 300,000 fewer – 249,000 (7.88 percent). However, CHP’s Ankara candidate of MHP origins Mansur Yavaş received 1,387,000 votes. Everybody agrees that Yavaş achieved this through votes coming from the MHP.
Some other interesting results from other provinces start with the southern province Hatay. MHP candidate Mete Aslan won 129,000 votes (15.40 percent), where the MHP is much stronger than this ratio in that province, as reflected in the MHP’s council votes, which are 156,000 (19.38 percent). When you consider that the winner was CHP candidate Lütfü Savaş, with a small margin of 3,700 votes, we can say this success is due to the strategic role played by a segment of the MHP votes.
In another southern city, Adana, the example is the other way around. In this city, CHP votes supported the MHP candidate Hüseyin Sözlü.
In Manisa, again, CHP voters contributed to the success of the MHP candidate Cengiz Ergün. The MHP candidate received 42,000 more votes than his party.
In Balıkesir also, just like Manisa, the transitivity worked from the CHP to the MHP, 37,000 votes shifted in that direction, but were not enough to beat the AK Party candidate.
Also in Denizli, MHP votes shifted to the CHP, but were not adequate to win the position. In Eskişehir, some 25,000 MHP votes supported the CHP and the re-elected CHP candidate Yılmaz Büyükerşen’s situation was relaxed.