Turkey’s Libbies have ‘the fish’ to thank for maiden mayor post in 20 years
ISTANBULA survivor among Turkey’s cluster of tiny parties, the Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) has won its first ever victory in local polls in 20 years of existence.
What’s more, the group casually dubbed the “Liboş” (or Libbies) achieved the unexpected by scoring a constituency in the eastern province of Muş, where the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the region’s major force, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), put up a stern fight.
The party came narrowly second in the province’s historic Malazgirt district, coming out of the blue to almost claim a district.
Ahmet Kenan Türker, the LDP’s runner-up in Malazgirt, said the secret of their success was “the fish” – more precisely the dolphin in the party logo.
“As the electors did not know about the LDP, we told people about its logo. We said, ‘put the stamp on the fish.’ It was the easiest logo among the parties which presented a candidate,” Türker said.
For his part, the maiden LDP mayor of the town of Konakkuran in the eastern province of Muş, Bülent Ateş, suggested that the figure of the candidate could play a determinant role in the results.
“I have worked in the town as a shop owner for 20 years and I am well-known here,” said Ateş, adding that he was a former member of the AKP for seven years, just like his fellow party candidate Türker.
“But I might have not been elected if I had run as the AKP’s candidate. The town’s inhabitants are more inclined to the left,” Ateş said.
The party also obtained 17.3 percent of the votes in Ağrı’s Patnos district, winning seats on the city council.
The results may be a beginning, but the Libbies have shown that should the general elections threshold be dropped from 10 percent, minnow parties may find the opportunity to surface from the depth of the electoral ocean.