Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has emerged as the leading party in a recent opinion poll for the first time in years, leaving the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been in power since 2002, behind, according to the polling company’s owner.
The poll was conducted by the Eurasia Public Research Center (AKAM) between Sept.1 and 7. AKAM’s owner, Kemal Özkiraz, announced in a series of tweets on Monday that the CHP came in as the leading party for the first time in years. It was followed by the AKP, then the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the İYİ (Good) Party.
Özkiraz said the poll was conducted without taking the new political parties in consideration that are planned to be established by two former AKP heavyweights, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan.
According to Özkiraz, the AKP lost significant support due to its stance on the results of the March 31 local elections in İstanbul, which was won by CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu.
Although İmamoğlu won the election, the AKP challenged the results at the country’s election authority and had the results cancelled on the grounds that there were irregularities and fraud.
A repeat election was held in İstanbul on June 23, as a result of which İmamoğlu won by a larger margin.
“If the June 23 election had been a general election, the voters would have reacted in the same way across the country. The perception of illegality led the AKP to lose votes everywhere,” he tweeted.
Before the March 31 election in İstanbul, AKAM accurately predicted that İmamoğlu would receive 44 percent of the vote while AKP candidate Binali Yıldırım would receive 42 percent.
For June 23, AKAM predicted that İmamoğlu would receive 53 percent of the vote, although he actually garnered 54 percent. The details of the poll will be made public at a later date.