AK Party, MHP may nominate joint candidates in local elections

AK Party, MHP may nominate joint candidates in local elections

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are reportedly considering nominating joint candidates for the local elections slated for March 30.

According to recent reports in Turkish media, the AK Party and the MHP's decision to form a political alliance for the upcoming presidential elections will also be reflected in local elections, as the two parties have been pondering nominating joint candidates. If this formula is adopted, supporters of the AK Party and the MHP will vote for single candidates for the mayorship, while they will remain able to vote for an alderman candidate nominated by their own parties.

As the AK Party-MHP alliance committee continues preparation for the alliance, the committee is expected to complete talks in two weeks and present the final alliance structure to the leaders of the parties. To lay a legal basis for the alliance, it is expected that two laws will be changed accordingly.

MHP Chairman Bahçeli announced earlier this month that his party would not nominate a candidate for the 2019 elections and instead would support the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Bahçeli stressed that the reason for this decision is that his party would act in accordance with the Yenikapı spirit. He was referring to a rally in Istanbul on Aug. 7, 2017, in which all of Turkey's main political leaders participated. The event was considered a symbol of political consensus following the July 15, 2016 failed coup.

Following the announcement, the two parties decided to form an alliance committee, the National Agreement Committee, to accelerate efforts for a possible alliance.

In alliance committee meetings, the AK Party has been represented by Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Parliament Constitution Committee head Mustafa Şentop and AK Party spokesman Mahir Ünal, while the MHP has been represented by Deputy Secretary-General Mustafa Kalaycı, lawmaker Mehmet Parsak from Afyonkarahisar province and another parliamentarian from Istanbul province, İsmail Faruk Aksu. The committee, which started to hold talks on Jan. 18, convened on Friday for the third time.

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