The 29 March 2009 local elections took place almost two years after the July 2007 general elections. In July 2008, the governing party, the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), accused of undermining the republic’s secular principles, faced a judicial ban from politics. The Constitutional Court rejected the petition to ban the party, but ordered the AKP to bear in mind the seriousness of the trial and imposed a financial sanction. For the AKP, the local elections were, in part, a way of endorsing its popularity and hence they hoped to repeat the results of the 2007 general elections, in which they garnered almost 47% of the vote – or even surpass this percentage. However, the world economic crisis, which has also affected Turkey, seemed to have had an effect on the government’s popularity. Two polls that appeared prior to the elections gave different possible results. Konda Research and Consultancy estimated that the AKP would win 47.9% of the vote on a national level for the provincial assemblies and 44.6% of the vote for the mayoral posts. A&G Research, on the other hand, indicated that the percentage of votes that the AKP could win for the mayoral posts would fall to 39.1%. Konda estimated that if general elections were held, the AKP would win 51.8% of the vote, while A&G found different results, which would give the AKP 42.5% of the vote instead of the 46.6% they received in the 2007 general elections.
This observation mission was made possible thanks to support from the R&D project:
‘Spain in the face of political reform and migration in the Mediterranean and Muslim world’
(CSO2008-06232-C03-01/CPOL) financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.
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