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Opposition alliance gains ground as AKP-MHP bloc bleeds more votes: poll

In this file photo Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) meets Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) Leader, Devlet Bahçeli at Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on November 19, 2019. AFP

A survey conducted by the ORC Research Company has shown that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally continue to bleed votes, with nationwide support below 40 percent, while public support for an alliance of opposition parties has reached 41.4 percent, local media reported on Monday.

In the ORC survey, conducted between Dec. 3 and 9 on 3,920 people in 41 provinces, respondents were asked, “Which party would you vote for if a general election were to be held this Sunday?”

While 30.3 percent of respondents said they would vote for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP, only 8.8 percent said they would support its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which is below Turkey’s election threshold.

Turkey has a 10 percent election threshold, which means if a party fails to get 10 percent of the national vote in the general election, they lose the opportunity to be represented in parliament.

According to the poll, support for the Nation Alliance, an opposition bloc established to challenge Erdoğan’s 19-year rule, reached 41.4 percent, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) receiving 25.5 percent and the İYİ (Good) Party garnering 15.9 percent of nationwide support.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) stood at 8.1 percent and the Islamist opposition Felicity Party (SP) at 1.4 percent, while former AKP member and co-founder Ali Babacan’s Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) received 3.3 percent of the vote, the survey showed.

Support for the AKP-MHP bloc dropped while the opposition’s Nation Alliance gained more ground in December, local media reports said, compared to ORC’s previous poll conducted in November in which the CHP and İYİ would secure 41.2 percent of the vote against 40 percent for the Public Alliance of the AKP and MHP.

In the last general election, held in June 2018, the AKP garnered a nationwide vote of 42.6 percent. However, public surveys have increasingly been showing the party’s public support to be slipping.

Erdoğan, whose ruling AKP has been in power as a single party government since 2002, was elected president in 2014 and reelected in 2018. His election in 2018 was under a presidential system as Turkey switched from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance after a public referendum in 2017. Under the presidential system, Erdoğan is accused of establishing one-man rule, destroying the separation of powers and silencing dissent.

The AKP government launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens following a failed coup in July 2016, with thousands of people jailed on trumped-up terrorism or coup charges.

The survey also comes amid a deteriorating economy in Turkey, where the lira has been plunging to record lows, accelerating inflation and eroding people’s purchasing power and making even basic needs unaffordable.

The Turkish currency has slumped 48 percent against the US dollar this year and is the worst-performing currency in emerging markets.

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