Party Membership in Turkey and Members' Participation during Local Elections in 2014
Scholars agree that since the 1980’s there is a widespread disengagement from parties and party politics especially in many long-established European democracies, both at the electorate and voluntary party members’ level. They also agree that decline both in terms of numbers and members’ activities depends on different socio-economic and political factors explained by supply-side and demand led explanations.
This study is intended to present an overview of party membership levels and of participation in party activities during the local elections which will take part in March 2014 in Turkey. In this presentation we will evaluate “Party and membership decline” thesis and observe the current situation in Turkish case since 1980’s. We will compare the number of party membership by using the official data which are registered in the Supreme Court of the Republican Attorney Generalship and observe the fluctuations or decline in each 5 years period between 1983-2013.
According to the scholars, there is a decline not only in numbers of the members, but also in members’ levels of activism in long established democracies. In order to see and understand the current levels of activism of the members, we will conduct a survey with different party members during local elections period in Izmir, which is the third biggest city with its population. We also plan to discuss the results of the survey and see whether there is a decrease in member’s level of activism. Some issues guide our survey: Firstly socio-economic and demographic characteristics members have. Secondly why citizens enroll in parties and the third how they participate in party activities and to what extent they use new information technologies as participation methods during local elections in 2014.