Skip to main content

Shadow of foul play descends early on Turkey's local polls

Turkey’s municipal polls are still two months away, but the opposition is already alarmed over possible vote manipulation.
A woman casts her vote as others wait in line at a polling station in Ankara March 30, 2014.  Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan looks set to win Sunday's municipal elections that have become a crisis referendum on his 10-year rule as he tries to ward off graft allegations and stem a stream of damaging security leaks. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - GM1EA3U1L4001
Read in 

Turkey’s local elections are still two months away, but their integrity seems to be already under a cloud amid claims of legal violations and voter registration manipulation. Opposition politicians warn that tensions over foul play could boil over beyond local administrations and plunge the already polarized country into chaos.

Unlike previous local elections, the significance of the March 31 vote is not only about who controls town halls. Both the opposition and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) see the vote as the first electoral test of the executive presidency system, which took effect after last year’s presidential and parliamentary polls. The municipal elections come amid economic turmoil, which, according to pollsters, is eating into the AKP’s popular support. Some suggest that the AKP’s loss of big cities, especially Istanbul and Ankara, could turn up pressure on the government and spark calls for early general elections.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.