On Sunday, Turkey not only voted for municipal heads but also for provincial councils. Interestingly, the provincial council results were quite different when compared to the municipal election race. According to unofficial results provided by Anadolu Agency, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won the municipal heads of the 39 provinces, when it comes to the provincial councils, the party has much more influence over the country. Approximately 58 out of the total 81 provincial councils the AK Party won are located in the northern and central regions of the country, traditionally known to be AK Party strongholds.
The surprising part is the fact that some of these provinces saw other parties win in the municipal elections race. For instance, 10 of these provinces, including the provinces of Kastamonu, Bartın, Karabük, Çankırı and Erzincan were won by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a partner of the AK Party in the People's Alliance. However, in these provinces, although the people voted for the municipal candidate of the MHP, they supported the AK Party in the provincial councils, which will have high importance in the administration of the municipalities.
For instance in Çankırı, the two parties seem to have replaced each other in the provincial council race as the percentage is quite close to one another. The AK Party has won 46.87 percent of the votes while MHP won 36.24 percent of the votes. In the municipal head elections, there was a reverse situation with the MHP receiving 47.04 percent of the votes while the AK Party won 38.28 percent of the votes. Such a move suggests that the people have political awareness and used it to make a difference between individual candidates and the political ideology a province should be administered with. That is to say, for many, although people did not support the AK Party's candidates in several provinces, they prefer their municipality to be under AK Party rule when it comes to administration of the municipality.
In major provinces such as Ankara and Istanbul, there was a similar situation, although the results seem to favor candidates of the main opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP), the people preferred to support the AK Party in provincial councils. In Ankara, the AK Party received 40.97 percent of the votes in the provincial council race while the CHP received only 37.88 percent of the votes. However, when it comes to the election of municipal heads, CHP had 50.90 percent of the votes, while the AK Party received 47.10 percent of the votes. Even in the northern province of Sinop, a traditional CHP stronghold, the AK Party won the provincial council with 51.20 percent of the votes while the CHP remained at 25.33 percent. When it comes to municipal head elections, however, locals in Sinop supported the CHP, as they did previously in the 2014 and 2009 local elections. This time around the CHP attained 56.60 percent of the votes while the AK Party received 40.53 percent of the vote.
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