Erdogan facing significant challenges in reelection bid: Report
A report shows that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's popularity has dwindled in the last two years.
A couple of days before Turkish voters head to poll stations to practice their right in voting in the presidential and parliamentary elections, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ahead of an intense reelection challenge, analytics company Gallup reported on Thursday.
For many years, Erdogan has been an icon in Turkish politics and is regarded as "a serial winner" for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the company's website pointed out. He ascended to power in the aftermath of a terrible earthquake in 1999 and is currently facing identical challenges in 2023, it added.
Erdogan was enormously popular at the time, having won a succession of presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as three referenda, Gallup said.
However, it highlighted that his popularity has dwindled in the last two years. In 2022, 36% of Turkish adults approved of their government's leadership, the lowest number since 2009.
National surveys show a tight contest between Erdogan and the opposition's candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu from Republican People's Party (CHP).
#Turkey is preparing to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, 2023, in what is described as "the most important in the history of the country."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 1, 2023
As the election date draws near, three key takeaways must be discussed.#TurkeyElections pic.twitter.com/LAFW0YItpy
On its part, the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) is not running a candidate in order to maintain a more united front against Erdogan. Previously, the HDP was seen as a "kingmaker" in close contests, the report noted.
According to the website, a stronger unified opposition is not Erdogan's sole challenge to his rule, pointing out that the outcome of this election will be defined by structural economic issues, eroding trust in Turkey's democratic system, and the aftermath of the earthquake.
Long before the earthquake, Turkey's economy was in crisis due to unusual monetary procedures, which caused inflation to skyrocket. In the last five years, the Turkish lira has lost around 80% of its value versus the US dollar.
In light of these significant obstacles, Turks' economic optimism reached a new low in 2022, with 11% believing the local economy is improving and 73% believing it is deteriorating, Gallup indicated.
Inflation has had a significant impact on living conditions. During Erdogan's first several years in office, more Turks thought their living conditions were increasing rather than deteriorating. However, in recent years, this tendency has sharply reversed, the analytics company found.
According to Gallup, Turks are less positive about their economy than the majority of the world's population. It highlighted that aside from larger economic concerns, Turks were less likely to approve of their leadership and had less faith in their national government and the integrity of elections in 2022 than they did in 2017.
Aside from rising negative opinions of Turkey's political system, many more Turks are living in poverty than in 2017, the company highlighted, explaining that the number of Turks who assess their own lives as "suffering" has climbed from 13% to 21%, and the predominance of negative emotions such as anger, stress, despair, concern, and pain has increased.
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