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The Republican People’s Party and the 2014 Local Elections in Turkey

Ahead of the 2014 local elections, the main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), developed an aggressive outreach campaign to add new voters to its ranks as the disappearance of its former rivals, the Democratic Left Party (DSP), left the CHP with a monopoly over the Left and the Gülen Movement broke with the ruling AK Party just months before the elections. The election results, however, reaffirmed that the main opposition party remained largely unpopular outside major metropolitan areas, including İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir. On election day, the CHP received less than 5 percent in most of the Southeast and Eastern Anatolia, as its efforts to associate with democracy and freedom proved futile against the backdrop of controversial alliances with extra-parliamentary forces.

The Republican People s Party and the 2014 Local Elections
Supporters of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) wave Turkish and party flags during an election rally. EPA / Sedat Suna
 

Introduction

In Turkey, each election cycle tends to receive special attention as elections typically spark both great excitement and tensions. For months at a time, elections dominate all public debate about the country’s politics while politicians, candidates and party organizations compete to impress voters. Once election results start flowing in, winners passionately embrace their success while losers face disappointment.

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