Sunday, April 6, 2014
Local elections were held in Turkey last week. Many people were wondering whether AKP, the dominant party in Turkish politics, would allow fair elections or whether they would try to illegitimately influence them. Weeks before the elections many interesting developments took place, including the dissemination of audio recordings of stigmatizing phone conversations (allegedly) between the prime minister and other parties (including his son). Many were under the impression that these developments would lead AKP to lose a significant share of their votes, since these developments cast doubt on the legitimacy of the ruling party and their leaders. When the election results came out, many people were surprised to see that AKP had maintained power in many big cities (including Istanbul, the most populous city in Turkey). This led many, including academics, to question whether the elections were fair.
An interesting study by Erik Meyersson attempts to empirically address this question. He finds a positive “relationship between the share of invalid ballots and higher voting share of the ruling AKP government in last week’s local elections in Turkey.” He explains his analysis and findings here.
He concludes as follows: “All together, these last results further supports the hypothesis that Turkey’s most recent elections may have been implemented with substantial irregularities. Until a valid explanation for these results is presented that does not include voter fraud it is difficult to imagine what else could be going on.”
I wanted to bring this noble attempt to uncovering facts about the recent elections to your attention, and any comments by empirical economists would be appreciated.