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Turkey's AKP Loses Momentum in Local Elections

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Unofficial results from Sunday's local elections suggest that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has suffered its first major electoral setback since the party was founded in August 2001.

In the nationwide elections for provincial assemblies, the moderate Islamist AKP won 38.9 percent of the total vote, ahead of the nationalist Republican People's Party (CHP) with 23.1 percent and the ultranationalist National Action Party (MHP) with 16.1 percent. However, the AKP's overall vote was 7.7 percentage points down on the 46.6 percent it won in the last general election in July 2007, and lower than the 41.7 percent it won in the previous local elections in March 2004. Even more importantly for the AKP, it was the first time that the party had failed to increase its vote in an election since it came to power in the general election of November 2002 with 34.3 percent. ...

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