Turkey’s growing number of undecided voters are set to play a key role at the next elections, according to Cumhuriyet columnist Sertaç Eş.
Presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place in the country in 2023, with persistent speculation of a snap vote before then. However, Eş said this was unlikely as the government seeks time to win back voters who have recently become disillusioned with the direction of the country.
The value of the Turkish lira hit a new record low on Thursday after the central bank opted to cut interest rates under apparent pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The falling value of the domestic currency has piled further pressure on the economy as it seeks to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including rising inflation.
Price increases in particular were damaging the popularity of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with as many as 23 percent of voters now undecided, most of whom previously backed the government, Eş said.
A sharp decline in Erdoğan’s personal approval rating over recent months has helped embolden the opposition after nearly two decades of AKP rule. One possible path to power has been charted by the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu, who forged a broad anti-government coalition to win Istanbul’s 2019 mayoral election.
The government is seeking to sabotage further efforts towards opposition unity but has been surprised at how few “cracks” had emerged, Eş said. “The opposition’s continuing coordination raises hope.”