Balıkesir’s election 2014

Other 2014 Büyükşehir elections

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balikesir-map
Balıkesir
Marginal MHP mayoralty
AK Party target
stone-olddis Old districts (pre-2014) 135,695 voters

baikesir-votersold

stone-olddis New districts in 2014 399,932 voters

baikesir-votersnew

All districts in 2014 885,884 voters
1 figure = 25,000 voters. All numbers correct on 1 March.

2009 results by district type
balikesir-pies
balikesir-key

Current mayor
İsmail Ok (MHP)
Province assembly, 2009

AK Party
34/62
CHP
18/62
MHP
8/62
DP
2/62
2014 mayoral candidates
 PartyCandidateVotes%
AK PartyAhmet Edip Uğur [ELECTED]308,26739.75
MHPİsmail Ok (defeated incumbent)245,29131.63
CHPSami Sözat196,27025.31
SPMehmet Filiz8,1691.05
HDPMustafa Hasırcı6,2510.81

Other parties

11,2931.46

Invalid votes

34,356

Turnout

809,89791.35

Registered voters

886,591
Turkey’s northwestern province of Balıkesir is vast and diverse, with a shoreline each on the Aegean and Marmara seas, and mountains and forests that push deep into Anatolia.  The coastal regions sport a growing industry in tourism, particularly on the Aegean, and these parts follow the national seaside trend of supporting the CHP. Balıkesir’s landlocked town centre is more conservative and presents a different picture.

The town’s mayor, İsmail Ok, is a chemistry teacher who rose through the ranks of provincial educational boards before standing for office as the MHP candidate in 2009. He defeated the AK Party incumbent Sabri Uğur, ending 15 years of rule by centre-right parties and becoming Balıkesir’s first nationalist mayor in living memory. His victory was one of many that made 2009 an MHP success story.

Mr Ok is now running for re-election, but polling suggests he has a fight on his hands. An ORC survey in the town at the beginning of October put the MHP on 30.9% behind 33.1% for the AK Party, who haven’t even announced a candidate yet. It is possible that Sabri Uğur could run again: in a column he wrote for the local press at the beginning of August, he apologised to “anyone hurt or wronged” by his term in office and hinted at seeking his old job back. Even the CHP could be in with a shout here: ORC polled them at 22.5%.

Implications

The MHP need to hold on to Balıkesir to demonstrate theirs is a party that commands local support even though the national party risks being elbowed out by AK.