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AKP vote share has fallen more than election results show

The ruling Justice and Development Party is not as popular as it would like observers and voters to believe going into the rerun of elections in Istanbul.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, greets his supporters during the sixth Congress of the ruling AK Party (AKP) in Ankara, Turkey, August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RC163D352FB0

ANKARA — The national vote of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has fallen to a critical level, 9% lower than what it registered in the local polls held March 31, an election analyst at the University of Illinois at Chicago has found. “If the AKP continues on its current path, then its voters may start looking for an alternative, as they did in 2002,” Ali Akarca said, referring to the election of November that year when conservative voters deserted the True Path and Motherland parties and brought the newly created AKP to power.

Akarca’s findings, released this month, will be encouraging for the opposition in the rerun of the Istanbul election on June 23. The AKP claims it was robbed of victory in the city on March 31. “They stole it” is the party line, but Akarca says the AKP actually got more votes than it deserved because conservative voters had to mark their ballots for alliance candidates or not vote at all, and the alliance names were usually AKP candidates.

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