Analysis of the 2009 Turkish Election Results from an Economic Voting Perspective
The outcome of the 29 March 2009 Turkish local administrations election is analyzed in light of economic voting literature, both from historical and geographical perspectives. First, the nationwide vote share of the incumbent party (AKP) is compared to what would be expected based on the patterns observed in the past twenty-six National Assembly, Senate, and Provincial Council elections held between 1951 and 2007. For this purpose a vote equation is estimated using aggregate nationwide time-series data. This equation takes into account the roles played by economic conditions, political inertia, incumbency factors, strategic voting by the electorate, and the political realignments. Second, inter-party vote movements between the 2007 parliamentary and the 2009 local administrations elections are analyzed, through systems of party vote equations, estimated separately for different regions of the country, using cross-provincial data. The results obtained show that the outcome of the 2009 election was predictable on the basis of historical patterns. The vote loses of the AKP is attributable mainly to two transitory factors: poor economic conditions prevailing at the time of the election and typical strategic-voting experienced in local elections. The party’s vote losses tended to be higher in the east than in the west and in provinces where its support is high than where it is low. The voters who deserted the AKP went to the DP, SP and DTP, in the mid-eastern and south-eastern Anatolia, and to the MHP and SP, in the rest of the country.