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Electoral support for anti-refugee party in Turkey reaches 4.1 pct, journalist says

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Electoral support for the far-right, anti-refugee Victory Party (ZP) has surged to 4.1 percent, journalist Barış Yarkadaş, also a former opposition lawmaker, Tuesday said in his column for the Korkusuz daily, citing the results of a recent survey by Bulgu Research.

According to the survey, the ZP received 27 percent of its votes from supporters of the nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party and 26.6 percent from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, an ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with the figure dropping to 14.9 percent among supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and to 11.3 percent among voters of the ruling AKP.

When respondents were asked which party they would vote for in a possible election in May, 29.3 percent said they would vote for the ruling AKP, followed by the main opposition CHP (27.9 percent), the İYİ (15.3 percent), the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) (10 percent), the MHP (6.8 percent), the ZP (4.1 percent), the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) (2 percent), the New Welfare Party (YRP) (1.9 percent), the Future Party (GP) (0.6 percent), the Democrat Party (DP) (0.3 percent), the Felicity Party (SP) (0.1 percent) and other parties (1.5 percent).

The results of the poll further showed Turkish President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being defeated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in a possible presidential election scenario in which the latter is running against the incumbent president, garnering 44.4 percent of the vote to Erdoğan’s 42.3 percent.

Participants were also asked “Does the [Islamic] sect of the [presidential] candidate affect your choice?” and 76 percent answered, “It doesn’t,” with the figure including 87.5 percent of CHP voters, 85.9 percent of İYİ voters, 84 percent of MHP supporters, 65.9 percent of HDP supporters and 66.9 percent of the ruling AKP voters, according to Yarkadaş.

Kılıçdaroğlu is an Alevi, the second-largest Islamic sect in Turkey – with Sunni Hanafi Islam the largest – estimated to account for 16.5 percent of the country’s population of 83 million.

There are long-standing tensions between the Alevi and Sunni communities in Turkey, which has long denied Alevi demands for state recognition, and Alevi houses of worship, known as cemevis, are not officially recognized by the state, hence given no financial assistance.

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 re-elected in 2018. His election in 2018 was under a presidential system as Turkey switched from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance with a public referendum in 2017.

Under the presidential system, Erdoğan is accused by critics of establishing one-man rule in the country, engaging in massive corruption and using the state’s resources for the benefit of his family and cronies while the Turkish people are overwhelmed by the increasing cost of living caused by the depreciation of the Turkish lira and a record level of inflation at around 73.5 percent, according to official figures.

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