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Economic Performance and Political Outcomes: An Analysis of the 1995 Turkish Parliamentary Election Results

Ali T. Akarca and Aysıt Tansel

1995 Turkish parliamentary election was held almost under the conditions of a controlled experiment. The unique cross-section data pertaining to this election and the economic and political conditions surrounding it were utilized to study the relationship between the government’s economic performance and the vote shares of political parties. Turkish voters are found to be myopic, not looking back beyond the election year in assessing the government’s economic performance. A good performance is found to benefit the primary incumbent party at the expense of extremist opposition parties and a bad performance is found to benefit extremist opposition parties at the expense of the primary party in power. The junior party in a coalition government and the centrist opposition parties appear to be unaffected by the economic conditions. Evidence found is consistent with a strategic voting by the electorate, to diffuse power and/or to try parties and leaders that were not tried before or last tried a long time ago. These conclusions are essentially in conformity with the literature on other countries.

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