Municipal control as incumbency advantage: an analysis of the AKP era
Kemahlıoğlu, Özge and Özdemir, Elif (2018) Municipal control as incumbency advantage: an analysis of the AKP era. In: Sayarı, Sabri and Ayan Musil, Pelin and Demirkol, Özhan, (eds.) Party Politics in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective. Routledge, London, pp. 116-135. ISBN 9781315461885
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Political parties’ control over state resources clearly has an impact on the parties’ internal organization and the linkages that they form with voters. 1 An understudied dimension of how state control affects parties is the electoral consequence in national elections for the national incumbent party of holding local executive positions. In this chapter, we explore whether and how the incumbent party in Turkey benefits electorally from its partisan ties at the sub-national level. This is an especially important question given the dominance of the nationally ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi-AKP), in Turkish electoral politics and the growing concerns about the fairness of elections due to the AKP’s incumbency advantage. Within the constraints set by available data on municipal budgets, we explore whether the fiscal opportunities and choices of the AKP’s local affiliates further increase the party’s votes in national elections. We also compare the AKP’s incumbency with the experience of coalition governments during the 1990s.
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