As Turkey gears up for local elections on March 31, the fate of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to wobble. Last year’s currency crisis, followed by an economic downturn, has created an imperative need for the common people to elect mayors and local officials prudently.
With election campaigning at its peak in Istanbul, the political debates have intensified in the country’s largest city. All political parties are ringing the final bell to bait voters, by pressing on national and local issues before the elections.
Apart from voting for city and district mayors, Turkey’s over 57 million registered voters will also select members of district councils and neighborhood heads, or mukhtars, during the elections.
President Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AK Party) teamed up with its ally in the last two elections, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in a coalition called the People’s Alliance.
The Nation’s Alliance, composed of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Good Party (IYI), is the main opposition to the current bloc. Both alliances have given tickets to numerous joint mayoral candidates in the 81 Turkish provinces. Turkey’s trade hub, Istanbul and the capital, Ankara are the major hot spots for the two alliances.
Several autonomous groups have analyzed the key issues governing the political agenda just before the significant polls.
The sluggish economy of Turkey, which is currently witnessing its first recession in last 10 years, has been the utmost election agenda, according to the polls.
The locals have been suffering big-time due to the collapsing economy, since the Turkish lira tumbled against the US dollar in 2018. The currency lost at least 40 percent of its value. The people are worried about their increasing debt, hoping things to get better with the formation of new government.
The current public polls suggest that President Erdogan’s AK Party could lose in the capital city, after holding the office for 15 years.