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Social, Political And Economic Determinants Of Turkish Voter Choice In The 2002 Parliamentary Election

Listed author(s):
  • Ali T. Akarca


    (Department of Economics , University of Illinois)

  • Aysit Tansel

In 2002 elections more than half of the voters cast their ballots for a different party than the one they chose in 1999. Two new parties received more than two-fifths of the votes. The combined vote share of the three incumbent parties dropped to 14.7 percent from 53.4 in 1999. The 1999 and 2002 election outcomes are analyzed at the provincial level, through a system of regression equations. The results obtained indicate that votes moved from the Virtue, Nationalist Action, Motherland and True Path parties (FP, MHP, ANAP and DYP) to the Justice and Development Party (AKP), from the Democratic Left Party (DSP) to the Republican People’s and Young parties (CHP and GP), and from the Democratic Left, Nationalist Action and Motherland parties (DSP, MHP and ANAP) to the True Path Party (DYP). The newly formed Justice and Development Party (AKP), the winner of the 2002 election and the ruling party since then, is found to have captured all of the far-right Islamist, about half of the far-right nationalist, and more than half of the center-right votes. This will give clues as to the stability of the party and the policies it is likely to pursue. The voters appear to have been influenced by the rampant government corruption involving construction and zoning code violations, exposed by the two major earthquakes which struck northwestern Turkey in 1999, the incompetence shown by the government in providing relief, the continued corruption in regards to those efforts, and government’s failure to prosecute corrupt officials and businessmen. They are found to have held accountable all of the political parties which participated in governments during the last decade or so, and not just the incumbents in 2002. The party in charge of the ministry responsible for earthquake relief, and parties which served longest and controlled more of the city administrations in the quake zone were blamed more. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the beneficiary of the votes lost by these parties. The sensitivity shown by the electorate to real and perceived corruption implies that corruption problem will be tractable in Turkey, and can be reduced through increased transparency and democratization. The voters may have been affected by the 2001 economic crisis as well. However this does not appear to be due to its impact on their incomes in that year but perhaps due to government’s incompetence in the creation and management of the crisis. The party preferences of Turkish voters are found to depend on their socioeconomic characteristics as well.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Forum in its series Working Papers with number 459.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision: Jan 2009
Publication status: Published by The Economic Research Forum (ERF)
Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:459
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