In this issue, Deniz Kaptan from the University of Minnesota discusses the political change in Brazil, where leftist Lula da Silva took over the presidency.
We also compiled public opinion surveys and reports on the election agenda, citizens' livelihoods, and the government's moves towards the economic crisis.
Hope to see you next week,
In the survey conducted by Metropoll Research, 43% of the respondents answered ‘Yes’, 50.7% answered ‘No’ and 6.3% answered ‘No idea’ to the question ‘Would you vote for President Erdoğan if there was an election today?’.
- Breakdown according to party bases: 30% of MHP voters and 11% of AK Party voters stated that they would not vote for President Erdoğan.
- Kılıçdaroğlu’s votes are even lower: In response to the question ‘Would you vote for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu if there was an election today?’, 38.1% of the respondents answered ‘Yes’, 56.7% said ‘No’ and 5.2% said ‘No idea’.
- Breakdown by party: 14% of CHP supporters, 26.4% of İYİ Party supporters, 31% of HDP supporters, and 64% of Saadet Party supporters said they would not vote for Kılıçdaroğlu.
- ‘Kılıçdaroğlu cannot win’: 57.2% of the respondents said ‘He cannot win’, while 33.5% said ‘He will win’, to the question ‘Do you think Kılıçdaroğlu can win the election?’. The rate of those who had no idea was 9.3%.
- ‘Erdoğan wins’: 49.2% of the respondents answered ‘He can’ and 41.9% answered ‘He cannot’.
- Erdoğan comes first in approval ratings: President Erdoğan's approval rating was 45.2%. The rate of those who did not approve Erdoğan for office was 52.1%. The rate of those who approved Kılıçdaroğlu for the post was 40.2%, while the rate of those who did not was 56.4%.
- ‘Announce the candidate’: In response to the question ‘Which issue should be addressed first by the Six Party Table?’, 45.6% of the respondents answered ‘Nominating candidates and preparing for the elections’ and 36.4% answered ‘Preparing the government for the post-election period’. The rate of those who did not have an idea was 18%.
- Politicians' approval ratings: Mansur Yavaş was the politician with the highest approval rating with 53.1%. Ekrem İmamoğlu was liked by 46.4%, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by 39.4%, Meral Akşener by 38.5%, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu by 35.3%, Devlet Bahçeli by 34.2%, and Ali Babacan by 33.1%.
- Editor's comment: The Six Party Table should focus not on what they will do after winning the elections, but on how they will win the elections and answer the question of who the candidate will be as soon as possible. In choosing a candidate, the opposition's chance of winning will increase if it chooses a candidate with a much higher voting potential, and more approval rating than Erdoğan, who could conceivably lose the election.
The Türkiye Raporu survey shows that the share of respondents, who believe that the main reason for the price increase in goods and services is the economic management, has decreased by 9% to 48%, in the past 14 months. The rate of those who see chain markets as responsible increased by 11% to 28%. The rate of those who stated that external powers were responsible for inflation was 13%, while the rate of those who blamed the increase in exchange rates was 11%.
AREA Research's survey shows that 67% of respondents said the cost of living was the most important issue in the country.
- Other answers were: migrant problem with 6.5%, unemployment with 4.2%, education with 4.1%, justice with 3.6%, and terrorism with 2.7%.
The survey conducted by the Yöneylem Social Research Center showed that the rate of those who find the political ban and prison sentence against Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu fair remained at 24.6%. The rate of those who did not find the decision ‘fair’ was 66.9% and the rate of those who had ‘no idea’ was 8.5%.
In the survey of AKSOY Research, the rate of those who do not find the minimum wage announced as 8 thousand 506 liras sufficient was 59.2% and the rate of those who find it sufficient was 24.1%. The rate of swing voters was 16.7%.
Victims of ‘delayed pension age’ (EYT): In the same survey, 67.7% of the respondents stated that they supported the government's decision on those in retirement age, while the rate of those who did not support the government's decision was 15.1% and the rate of undecided respondents was 17.2%.
Things have calmed down in Brazil: President Lula
While Lula da Silva took office, Bolsonaro, who lost the election, left the country.
Jair Bolsonaro, who has never fallen from the list of authoritarian rulers, lost by a margin of 2 million votes in Brazil's second round of presidential elections. His replacement, former leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, assumed the presidency again on January 1. On December 30, Bolsonaro traveled to Florida on a Brazilian Air Force plane.
As Bartu Özden points out in his article on the subject, the election results in October created a new period of uncertainty regarding Bolsonaro's reaction and possible statements. Before the elections, Bolsonaro called on his base to take up arms and stated that he would not recognise the elections if Lula da Silva won. In this respect, it was a matter of curiosity whether Bolsonaro, who showed an attitude similar to Trump's attitude towards the elections in the US, would accept the election results.
Bolsonaro vs. Lula
In 2018, Bolsonaro, the presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party, made headlines with the amount of donations he raised during his campaign, but one of the factors in his election was the jailing of Lula da Silva on corruption charges. Lula da Silva, President from 2003-2010, was released by court order after serving 580 days of a 12-year prison sentence. On the other hand, the imprisonment of the leader, who was the head of one of the mainstream parties and former President of the Republic has further increased polarisation between left-wing supporters of Lula da Silva and right-wing supporters of Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro traveling to Florida
On January 1, the day of Lula da Silva's inauguration, Bolsonaro had already arrived in Florida, thus canceling the handover ceremony. ‘I’m on a flight, I’ll be back soon.’ Bolsonaro told CNN Brazil. ‘Brazil will not end on January 1, you can be sure about that.’ he told his supporters in a recording, referring to Lula's presidency, while the rest of Bolsonaro's government announced that they would work with the new team in the process of changing the government.
On the other hand, Bolsonaro supporters went to military barracks to protest the election results without providing evidence and called on the military to take action. The new Minister of Justice and Public Security, Flávio Dino, responded to the protesters who received no answer from the military. Dino declared the protesting groups terrorists and said there would be no amnesty for terrorists, their supporters, and financiers.
Brazil under Lula
The people and the economy of Brazil, which went through the pandemic under the Bolsonaro administration, suffered heavy blows. Lula da Silva, one of whose most important promises is to ‘bring back the good times of steak and beer’, has a tough road ahead of him.
According to the Financial Times, compared to the period of economic growth and poverty reduction between 2003 and 2010, under Lula's current administration the country's economy is shrinking due to both internal and external factors. Among the most prominent problems are the losses caused by the pandemic, problems in production, the environment damaged by the Amazon fires, and social polarisation.
Agenda of the new government
Lula's messages indicate that he is aware of the biggest problems from which the people suffer. In his first speech to Congress, Lula promised to ‘build a new nation in Brazil with and for everyone, without revenge’, and in several speeches he announced to take actions to end the destruction of the Amazonas, and appointed Marina Silva, one of Brazil's most important activists, as Minister of Environment and Climate.
On the other hand, underlining that the country has lost at least 680 thousand citizens as a result of Bolsonaro's pandemic-era policies, he stated that they will follow the necessary legal procedures in this regard. Lula also announced that he would transform Brazil from the world's food producer into a ‘green superpower’.
These promises and the first steps that follow, which are greeted with enthusiasm by at least half of the population, may be hampered by the economic and social difficulties the country is facing. How far the new government will follow its agenda remains to be seen.
Most importantly, Bolsonaro's electoral defeat offers a new perspective on the analysis and expectations of Bolsonaro, painting a portrait of an autocrat, who loses power through elections while trying to gather political and economic power around him.
KAMU-AR, the R&D unit of Birleşik Kamu-İş Confederation announced that as of December 2022, the hunger limit, which is the amount of expenditure that a family of four should make for a healthy diet, has increased to 9 thousand 59 liras. The poverty line, which is the amount required for a family of four to meet their needs without suffering deprivation, rose to 26,124 liras. With the data, the hunger limit increased by 4 thousand 493 liras and the poverty line increased by 12 thousand 612 liras in 2022.
- Living on minimum wage: The calculation of the Class Research Center of the DİSK-affiliated Birleşik Metal-İş Union showed that the amount that a family of four living on the minimum wage, which was announced as 8,506 liras, can allocate per person for a meal is 6 liras 80 kurus. Based on this, it was stated that 1700 liras could be allocated for rent, that is, a house of only 17 square meters could be rented in Istanbul, and only 74 liras a month could be spent on the education of two children.
Fossil fuels are responsible for nearly 20% of Turkey's inflation since May, according to a report by global consultancy Cambridge Econometrics. Energy prices are twice as volatile as general consumer prices, the report said, noting that electricity has risen by 102%, natural gas by 145%, and transportation fuels by 182% in the last 12 months due to devaluation and the energy crisis triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
- On the other hand: The report says that energy expenditures of poor households increased by 95% compared to the previous year. Turkey's measures to protect households from rising energy prices have been estimated to cost the treasury 300 billion liras.
Data compiled from reports by various non-governmental organisations showed that the number of unassigned teachers who committed suicide in the last 10 years is close to 300. A report by the Center for Economic and Business Research says that Turkey will fall to 22nd place in the list of the world's largest economies in 2023. The report shows that Turkey's growth figures, which have already started to slow down, will fall further as the country has to fight inflation.