Supporters cheer for Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek, a member of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, on April 5, 2014. The opposition Republican People's Party alleged that the ruling party rigged votes to push Gokcek, the incumbent, past challenger Mansur Yavas.
It’s hard to imagine the outcome of Turkey’s local elections, scheduled for March 31, generating any real suspense. The result again is likely to favor the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan despite the deepening economic crisis that has enveloped Turkey. Turkey’s political elites across party lines are fixated on the elections. While the AKP is seeking alluring candidates to maintain its control of large cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, opposition parties -- particularly the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) -- are squabbling over choosing their nominees for the multiple mayoralties that will be up for grabs next spring and are not focused on devising a grand strategy to unseat the AKP from local power. Parties and elites alike covet local offices because local government administration is extremely profitable for mayors and provincial/city council members who gain prime positions to authorize public procurements...
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