News You Really Need To See: “Premier Gains Ground in Turkish Elections”

“Premier Gains Ground in Turkish Elections”

The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2014, p.A6

“Turkey’s prime minister appeared to have scored a decisive victory in local elections seen as a referendum on his rule over an increasingly divided country, setting the stage for a possible run for president.  Exit polls showed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, winning a comfortable plurality of votes nationally, but the margin of victory and his party’s control of major cities was unclear early Monday.  Two polls showed the party registering 46% of the vote with 80% of the ballots counted, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, securing 28%.  … Mr. Erdogan is likely to interpret the result as a popular seal of approval for his recent policies, which his opponents decry as authoritarian, analysts said.  The tally could also encourage the premier to run to become Turkey’s first directly elected president this summer, a move that could allow him to govern for another decade.”

Quickie analysis:  The results in Ankara and Istanbul are still ambiguous, but if nothing else the vote shows, as seen in other countries, a divide between liberal city-dwellers (who take to the street and make headlines) and the rest of the country, that seems fine with Prime Minister Erdogan’s conservative government.

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