Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Turkish AKP hopes a new plebiscite

Istanbul Correspondence - "Target 2023", proclaim the giant portraits of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, plastered all over the country for parliamentary elections on June 12 The Turkish prime minister is already facing the centenary of the Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal and cares little about the outcome of Sunday.

The renewal of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002, is already acquired. Pollsters make it a formality: the AKP is expected to harvest at least 45% of the vote and achieve a score close to that of the 2007 legislative (46.6%). Enough to guarantee a majority of seats for the third consecutive time.

Sign of his confidence, on Wednesday, even before the election campaign ends, the leader of Islamic-conservative has announced the list of different departments and circulate it as soon as the victory official. Despite more than eight years in power discontinuously, a first in Turkey since the 1950s, and despite a split personality, Mr.

Erdogan's popularity does not seem to crumble. Without any real agenda, the Prime Minister has campaigned on his record alone at the head of the executive: "Extend stability. Grow Turkey." Between the arrival in power of the AKP and the election of 2011 hinged, stability and growth have transformed Turkey, now the 16th world economy.

GDP per capita has risen in ten years from 3000 to 10 000 dollars. The economic argument remains the main asset of the outgoing prime minister who takes all the merits of these figures speak for themselves. In each city where he held a meeting, the scarf of the local football team around the neck, it has not failed to list the miles of roads, hospitals, airports built by the government.

Loans to farmers, universal social security, computers in schools ... And to punctuate his demonstration, he waved to his supporters inevitably an electronic tablet. "There will be one for each student," he promises, to the cheers. His opponents denounced the patronage of Mr Erdogan. He speaks of "service" rendered to his "dear Turkish brothers." By dint of promises, the former mayor of Istanbul (1994-1999) led a municipal campaign across the country.

Guided by the charismatic personality of its leader, the AKP has become a mass party. Market Esenler district, a suburb of the city concrete Istanbul, activists of the AKP by distributing handfuls of pin-shaped bulb, the party emblem. On a corner table in their booth Motley, they sign the membership forms.

"A phone number and sign, that's enough!" Membership is free but it allows the party to form a "file client". "In half a day, we raised over five hundred new members, shows Muzzafer Dogan. "The district has 300,000 voters, and 21% of them are already members of the AKP. That is what we want to achieve at the national level," said Umut Ozkan, a lawyer for 31 years, responsible party in that municipality.

"With 20% of Turkish members of the AKP, we would be assured of winning all the elections," he says. The AKP, a movement founded ten years ago by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdullah Gul and some fellow travelers, now more than 5 million members. Including one million for the city of Istanbul alone.

It is therefore a veritable army of activists and supporters available to the party to defeat the recall before the election. The AKP, en route to its seventh straight victory, excels in social networking, a tradition inherited from his ancestor, the Islamist party Refah (Welfare Party).

In the campaign headquarters of Esenler, Umut Özkan a tour of his "military command post" a windowless room, whose walls are covered with drawings of each area of the district which he is charged. Dozens of colored pins marking the corresponding party and visited the streets. Not a ballot is left to chance.

This grid is reproduced in each electoral district of Istanbul, with the same efficiency. With this strike force, the AKP and its leaders are hoping a new plebiscite. A very large victory, which would give more than 330 seats, would provide the Prime Minister full powers to reform the Turkish Constitution.

"2012 is the year of the new constitution," he early Thursday. All political parties agree on the need to rewrite the current constitution, drafted by the military junta in 1983. This reform should focus expected to address some of the most sensitive issues, such as the rights of the Kurdish minority and the place of religion in the secular republic.

But Mr Erdogan has mostly made his wish to move Turkey towards a presidential system "in French, or American-style" with a carved chair with its measurement. Even within the party, this initiative is being debated. And many officials confess, always anonymously, that the main threat to the party, the Prime Minister himself.

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