Electoral Volatility in Turkey - Cleavages vs. the Economy
Occasional Papers Series
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Two types of volatilities—cleavage-type volatilities based on social cleavages and retrospective-type volatilities based on voter punishment of the incumbent—are analyzed using separate regression models. The results demonstrate, first, that deep social cleavages once increased electoral volatility but that since the 1990s, they have begun to stabilize voting behavior. Second, electoral volatility as a whole nonetheless remains high because of a growing trend toward retrospective voting. Low economic growth and high unemployment are the major reasons for this.
The apparent instability in the party system stems not from a lack of representation in parliament of major social groups but rather from poor government performance. Persistently high electoral volatility thus does not necessarily indicate an absence of party system institutionalization. This current phenomenon in Turkey appears to be analogous with the world trend toward declining trust in government and growing trust in democratic and party systems.