For a long time the Turkish party system has been characterized by its high fragmentation and electoral volatility.1 However, with the entry of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi-AKP) onto the electoral scene for the 2002 general elections, this diagnosis appears to be a misrepresentation of the Turkish political experience. The AKP increased its vote share and won the 2007 general election. On June 12, 2011 the AKP obtained the largest vote share in Turkish general elections for a third time in a row since 2002. From the beginning of the campaign period there seemed to be little disagreement about AKP’s victory. Although the fragmentation and volatility in the party system decreased, the total number of votes obtained by the parties that met the 10% nation-wide vote threshold and the votes of the independent candidates still remained below that of the AKP votes.
Turkey’s 2011 General Elections: Towards a Dominant Party System?
Since 2002, the Turkish electoral environment and the party system have been undergoing a significant transformation. The Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) has continued to increase its electoral support for a third time in a row. The declining volatility and fractionalization in the election results together with the expanding geographical base of AKP electoral support may be taken as signs of the emergence of a dominant party system in Turkey. This article offers a descriptive account of the election results and links those results to the literature on the dominant party system. A discussion on the implications of this new development for the evolution of Turkish party system, Turkish political landscape and future elections concludes the article.
The first and most significant result of the June 2011 general election is the consolidation of the AKP’s electoral power base.
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