As Turkey prepares for June elections, the government’s 13-year hold on power is facing a new threat: diminishing faith in its long-trusted economic management. Since coming to power on the heels of a financial crisis, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has dominated Turkey’s political landscape, winning six consecutive elections. Even after a spate of protests and corruption scandals, it scored a convincing victory in local ballots last year. But hit by a combination of stagnating economic growth, weakening investor confidence and concerns over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, the AKP is entering an election with a majority of voters saying the economy is poorly run. That is emerging as a real risk to Mr. Erdogan’s continued political ambitions.
An April survey from Metropoll Strategic and Social Research Center showed 57% of voters disapproved of the government’s stewardship of Turkey’s $800-billion economy, while those approving hit a record low of 34%.
In May, consumer confidence slumped to its lowest level since March 2009, when the global financial crisis pushed Turkey into a recession. Unemployment—now at a five-year high of 11%—tops voter concerns, Istanbul-based Koc University found in an April survey, where participants said the government is failing to provide economic growth.