Candidates and alliances for local elections in Turkey on March 31

20 Feb 2019 3 years old
Candidates and alliances for local elections in Turkey on March 31
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The period set by the SEC for announcing local election candidates has ended. Final adjustments have been made to the alliances.

Birkan BULUT
Ankara

The Supreme Electoral Council (SEC)’s deadline for nominating local election candidates has ended. The picture to emerge following last-minute adjustments is that the AKP-MHP has broadened the alliance as its electoral support wilts. With the CHP and Good Party forging an alliance in many places with an eye on the nationalist vote, the HDP, conversely, has not fielded candidates in many metropolitan cities such as İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir Mersin and Adana so as to weaken the AKP-MHP block.

IN WHICH PROVINCES ARE AKP OR MHP CANDIDATES BEING SUPPORTED?

The People’s Alliance, having continued with its ups and downs following the 24 June elections, embarked on its endeavours for the 31 March local elections in thirty metropolitan cities and Erdoğan’s home town of Rize and Bahçeli’s home town of Osmaniye. The AKP and MHP block, targeting the CHP and Good Party alliance with talk of the latter having “made an alliance with the HDP,” has done its utmost to hush and patch up the cracks between them. With President Erdoğan frequently urging his party to avoid rhetoric harmful to the alliance, those expressing disapproval have been ousted from office, as in Samsun.

The alliance talks that restarted at the beginning of February saw a further widening in view of the risks and wilting vote witnessed in certain provinces. The two parties are cooperating in 21 provinces in addition to the 30 metropolitan cities. This thus brings to 51 the number of provinces in which the election is being contested under alliance.

The AKP has not fielded candidates in Osmaniye, Kars, Kırklareli and Iğdır where the MHP has candidates. The MHP has likewise withdrawn its mayoral candidates in Rize, Bilecik, Bolu, Burdur, Yalova, Çanakkale, Bitlis, Sinop, Edirne, Artvin, Giresun, Ardahan, Siirt, Muş, Ağrı, Şırnak and Hakkari and resolved to support the AKP in these seventeen provinces. A single list for municipal assembly seats will also be fielded in provinces falling under the alliance.

WILL THE CHP FIND WHAT IT IS LOOKING FOR ON THE RIGHT?

In the aftermath of the 24 June elections, the CHP has made an alliance with the Good Party alone. The CHP’s long-time tactic of winning elections through cosying up to right-wing voters has courted disapproval from many quarters. Mehmet Fatih Bucak, who hurled threats at other parties when he applied to stand for the MHP at the last elections, has become CHP candidate for Şanlıurfa Siverek in spite of objections within the party.

IN WHICH PROVINCES ARE THE GOOD PARTY – CHP IN ALLIANCE?

Critical cities like Ankara, Izmir and Mersin once more turn out to be the provinces where debate over candidates is at its hottest. In the end, cooperation under alliance was decided on in 22 metropolitan cities. The CHP has fielded candidates in more than 900 places including 18 metropolitan cities like İstanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Adana and 38 provinces. The Good Party has put forward a total of 543 candidates in 14 metropolitan cities like Konya, Kayseri, Kocaeli and Gaziantep and 28 provinces.

HDP NOT FIELDING CANDIDATES IN THE WEST TO HAMPER THE RULING BLOCK

As to the HDP, it has played a dual tactic in these elections. Making anti-trustee alliances with Kurdish parties in provinces in the region, the HDP has announced that it is not fielding candidates in Istanbul, Adana and Izmir to hamper the AKP and MHP block. Fielding no candidates in cities like Ankara, Aydın, Adana, Hatay, Urfa, Mersin, Antalya, Bursa and Mersin, the HDP has conversely put forward candidates in certain of Istanbul and Ankara’s sub-provinces. Announcing its support for DSP candidate Celal Doğan in Gaziantep and, by contrast, Felicity Party candidate Ahmet Faruk Ünsal in Adıyaman, the HDP has nominated Van member of parliament Bedia Özgökçe Ertan in Van Metropolitan Municipality, Group Deputy Chair Ayhan Bilgen for Kars Municipality, Istanbul member of parliament Ali Kenanoğlu for Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality and Istanbul member of parliament Züleyha Gülüm for Kocaeli.

HUGE TUSSLE IN ISTANBUL, ANKARA AND MERSİN

Numbering among the most critical provinces in the local elections are such provinces as Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Mersin and Adana. The People’s Alliance is using figures who have served on the cabinet in the three big cities. It has fielded Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yıldırım in Istanbul, former Minister of Environment and Urbanization Mehmet Özhaseki in Ankara and former Minister of

Economy Nihat Zeybekçi in Izmir. As to the CHP’s candidates, these are Ekrem İmamoğlu in Istanbul, Tunç Soyer in Izmir and, in Ankara, Mansur Yavaş who fought against Melih Gökçek in the last local elections. In Mersin Metropolitan Municipality, in turn, where almost all parties are neck and neck, the CHP has nominated Vahap Seçer and the MHP Hamit Tuna as candidates.

THE GOOD PARTY’S BURHANETTİN KOCAMAZ CRISIS IN MERSIN

The Good Party was going to field its current chair Burhanettin Kocamaz but the late arrival of Kocamaz’s documents has caused a crisis. The SEC will decide on whether Kocamaz is to be a candidate.

EMEP AND ÖDP’S ELECTORAL DECISIONS

The SEC blocked the Labour Party (EMEP) and Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) from contesting the election asserting that they did not meet the qualifications to do so. With the Labour Party deciding to back the HDP against the trustees, it has put up independent candidates in Balıkesir, Tekirdağ, Kayseri, Kocaeli and Denizli along with Ankara’s Sincan sub-province and Izmir’s Buca sub-province.

EMEP is also contesting the elections in Dersim in a unity of forces.

ÖDP Presidential Board member Alper Taş, in turn, has become the CHP candidate for Beyoğlu Mayor in Istanbul.

ŞAHİN DECISION FROM FELICITY PARTY

In the election marked by alliances, the Felicity Party (SP) will contest the election in all regions with its own logo and candidates. The SP will field candidates in 1389 constituencies and has dwarfed all other parties in this regard.

The Felicity Party has nominated former Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, who had been spoken of as CHP-Good Party Ordu candidate, as candidate for Ordu Metropolitan Mayor.

FINAL LISTS WILL BE PROCLAIMED ON 3 MARCH

As per the Supreme Electoral Council (SEC)’s electoral timetable, the deadline for submission of lists of candidates ended at 17.00 on 19 February. The provisional list of candidates including independent candidates will be announced by provincial and sub-provincial electoral boards on 22 February and the objection period will commence. As to the final lists of candidates, these will be proclaimed on 3 March.

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