Turkish political parties have had an early start to their election campaigns, ahead of the local elections next March. But compared to its political rivals, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been the very most meticulous in choosing its candidates in different districts and cities.
The party has used a new-generation "e-tendency survey" that helped it to easily and precisely determine the preferences of its party members and voter bases. It will announce its candidates in the upcoming days.
The survey consisted of two criteria. While the first contained the successes of mayors and the number of votes they received in previous elections; the second included the possible voter tendency towards them. If a candidate's rate was more than the AK Party's success rate – 46 percent or the general voter tendency rate – 51 percent, they were categorized as successful.
To show how the survey works, let's take the example of Istanbul – the most significant province, that even has the potential to change the fate of parties in the next general elections.
For instance, Binali Yıldırım, the 27th prime minister and current parliament speaker, is likely to be the AK Party candidate for Istanbul mayor's office as his record is far beyond the determined average percentages.
Nevertheless, even if a candidate's vote is slightly lower than the average rate, it does not mean that they will not be nominated until it is ensured that a new candidate can exceed it or not. Here at this point, political leadership and foresight come into play. No matter what, the parties have already focused on Istanbul, looking for their rivals' first step in the campaign or candidate for the metropolis as the city involves the majority of the population. "The winner of Istanbul wins the whole Turkey" is, therefore, a political idiom in the country.
Meanwhile, it is murmured in the back stages that these local elections campaigns have prompted the parties to nominate women candidates – more women candidates than the previous ones. Although there has not been such an officially concrete step so far by any parties, it is known that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan particularly pushes and encourages the AK Party organizations to run for the elections with more female candidates, not only in districts but big in cities too.
The applications to the AK Party have already been taken positively, promising the numbers of female mayors will be more than in the past. The AK Party has currently eight women mayors and wishes to increase the number. The AK Party's very existence and actions are more than perfect news for the quality and future of Turkish politics and should be followed by other parties too.