2019 election alliance talks between AK Party and MHP finalized: official

Turkey's President and leader of ruling Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Devlet Bahceli, leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party, before their talks in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Pool

The alliance talks between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are completed, Parliament's Constitution Committee head announced Sunday following the meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli.

The AK Party and MHP decided to form an alliance when Bahçeli announced that he would not run for the presidency and would instead support Erdoğan. Since then, the two parties have ramped up their efforts to find common ground to enter the presidential elections in 2019 with an alliance.

The two parties later set up a commission, involving Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Parliament's Constitution Committee head Mustafa Şentop and AK Party's spokesman Mahir Ünal representing the government, the MHP's representatives Deputy Secretary-General Mustafa Kalaycı, a lawmaker from Afyonkarahisar city, Mehmet Parsak, and another parliamentarian from Istanbul, Ismail Faruk Aksu.

The commission set up between the parties is expected to focus on the constitutional changes that need to take place for the new presidential governing system.

Parliament's Constitution Committee Head Mustafa Şentop said a 26-article bill signed by both AK Party and MHP will be presented to the Parliament on Wednesday.

President Erdoğan will convene the commissions working on the adjustments in March and the sub-commissions will finalize their works by April.

The sub-commission that is focusing on the regulations for local elections has already completed its work and will make a presentation about the local administrations next week in Parliament. The changes that are made will go into effect in the local elections to be held March 2019.

Following the constitutional changes that were approved in the April 16 referendum, adjustment laws and changes to the electoral system have become a must.

There were rumors in the media that other parties may join the alliance. Amid such talks, Erdoğan met Felicity Party Chairman (SP) Temel Karamollaoğlu at the AK Party's headquarters in Ankara. However, Karamollaoğlu did not elaborate on the possibility of an alliance.

"We shared our opinion on adjustment laws and discussed recent political developments," he said after the meeting.

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